January 15, 2012

Living a Cross-Centered Life: Hebrews Chapter Eight

Hey Bible study friends,

This morning I awakened weary, feeling as if I could not lift my head off the pillow.  Although it has been my joy and delight to spend the last few days caring for my sweet girl as she recovers from having her wisdom teeth extracted, it has been exhausting.

It would have been so easy to skip church and stay in bed, but my son asked to go to his life group at church.  How could I say no?  So grudgingly, I stepped into the shower and got ready. 

As I entered the sanctuary, I felt a longing to be filled.  Yet when worship began, my thoughts turned critical.  I disliked the opening worship songs.  I stood quietly, grumbling.  Why didn’t I just stay home and read my Bible? 

Then our pastor began to preach.  His message drew me in.  Verse by verse, God’s Word poured into me.  My spirit began to lift. 

He prayed.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

Worship began again, but this time my heart was primed and ready to praise.  The words seeped deep into the marrow of my bones.  The lyrics moved me….

Mold me.

Lead me.

Heal me.

Fill me.

Jesus…

Jesus…

Jesus…

Jesus….

Speaking His Name filled me to overflowing! 

My spirit lifted.  My strength returned.  My joy restored.

In one hour, the Lord used His Word and His sweet Spirit to refresh and renew me. 

Friends, are you weary today? Do you long to be refreshed, renewed, healed, restored? 

There is no better way than to be in His Word.  So, join me as we dig into this next lesson about our sweet Jesus.  He is waiting to fill each one of us.

 

This Week’s Memory Verse: But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: ‘I will put My laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be My people.’  Hebrews 8:10.

This Week’s Prayer

Father, how I love You.  Thank You for the gift of grace.  Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit.  Thank You that through the promise of the New Covenant, Your Word is now etched into my heart and mind.  Father, give me the deep desire to love Your Word and learn Your Word. Give me understanding to know what it means and how to use it in my life.  Use it to mold my heart and make it more like Yours.  Enable me to live it out in my life each and every day.   Bring to mind the truths and promises I need when I need them.  Give me opportunities to share it with others so they too may know the love and hope I have found within its pages.  I love You and ask all this in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ my Lord.  Amen.

Assignment: Read Hebrews Chapter Eight

Homework Questions:

1.  Read Hebrews 8:1 and answer the following questions.

  • What do you think is the author’s main point?
  • What two proofs does the author present for the superiority of Jesus?
  • Read Hebrews 10:11, John 19:30, Mark 16:19, and Luke 22:69.  From these verses explain what distinguishes Jesus’ priesthood from the Levitical priesthood.

 

2.  According to Hebrews 8:2, what is Jesus doing on the throne?  Share what this means in your life.

 

3.  What distinguishes the place from where Jesus ministers and the place from where the Old Testament high priest ministered? 

  • Describe or draw a picture of the heavenly tabernacle as you imagine it to be from what we have studied.
  • What parts of it are most meaningful to you?

 

4.  What does the author say about Jesus in Hebrews 8:4? Why?

Jesus never stepped outside His role as Son.  There is no evidence that He entered or even attempted to enter the Temple to perform the duties of a high priest.  John MacArthur says it well when he wrote:

“God never mixes shadow with the substance, the type with the antitype.  Jesus could not minister the old offerings, in the old, earthly sanctuary.  He ministers the new offerings in the new, heavenly sanctuary – built by God, not men.”

The old Testament high priest served in a copy or shadow of the heavenly tabernacle.

 

5.  What does Colossians 2:17 say?  How does this relate to our lesson?

 

6.  Read Hebrews 8:6, what role is Jesus given in this verse?

Jesus is our Mediator.  “Mediator” derives from the Greek word mesites, which is from the Greek word mesos, an adjective denoting “middle, in the middle or midst.”  Mesites as a noun means “a go-between.”  Moses is often referred to as the mediator of the Old Covenant.  Under the Old Covenant, the high priest was a mediator between God and man.  Now Jesus is the better mediator of a better covenant!

 

7.  Read Hebrews 8:9-12.  God had a master plan all along to reconcile His people back to Himself after the Fall.  But this plan had stages.  It was foreshadowed through His Word, through types, and through the prophets.  In fact, Jeremiah the prophet announced this plan thousands of years earlier.

  • Read Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:8, with whom did God make this New Covenant?
  • If this New Covenant was made to Israel and Judah, how are we beneficiaries? (Read Romans 1:16-17)

8.  The New Covenant started with the Jews.  Jesus was born into a Jewish family.  He was a Jew.  Jesus’ ministered to His own people, the Jews (see Matthew 15:24).  Jesus’ next step was to send out His disciples.

  • Read Matthew 10:5-6.  What are Jesus’ instructions?  To whom were they to minister?
  • Read Luke 24:46-48.  What are Jesus’ next instructions and to whom did He give them?
  • Read Acts 1:7-8.  According to Jesus’ instructions, where was the message to go first?
  • Read Acts 3:25-26.  What does Peter say about this subject?
  • Look again at Acts 1:7-8, where was the message to go after Jerusalem?

 

9.  Read Hebrews 8:10 and write the verse below.

  • Explain in your own words how the Old Covenant differs from the New Covenant.
  • Read Ezekiel 11:19-20 and 36:26-27.  How do these verses reinforce what Jeremiah and the author of Hebrews say?

 

10.  Share ways in which you have experienced the reality of God’s law being written in your heart and mind.

 

11.  God’s New Covenant internalizes His Law through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is His Spirit that gives us the inner ability to obey God’s law and, in turn, enjoy His blessings.

  • Read John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:7-8, and 1 John 2:27.  What do these verses teach about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

 

12.  Read Hebrews 8:12-13.

  • Give the major difference between the Old and New Testament as they address the forgiveness of sin.
  • Scripture teaches thatJesus paid the penalty for our sin.  Because of what He did on the cross, our sins are forgiven, to be remembered no more.  “Remember” as used here derives from the Greek word zakar.  It means “to think of, to bring to remembrance, to bring to mind.”  God no longer holds our sin against us.  They are far from His mind, never to be spoken of again.  What does this truth speak to you about forgiveness and forgetting in your own life?
  • Has the Lord brought someone to mind whom you need to forgive or you have forgiven but struggle with forgetting?  If so, take first steps toward forgiving or forgetting.  Remember as you ponder this, sweet friend, that you are ABLE through God’s grace and through the power of His Holy Spirit.
  • Write down your steps, pray about them, and ask the Lord for the strength and courage to take the first step.  Invite a friend to pray with you and hold you accountable.  There is no greater freedom than releasing unforgiveness and forgetting wrongs done to you!!  Walk in that freedom today.

This has been one of my favorite lessons.  As I ended today, I thought about what I would have been thinking if I had been a Jew listening to this message.  Would I have been convinced by now that Jesus was the better way? 

The writer of Hebrews could not have known this, but his words at the end of Chapter Eight, stating that the First Covenant would be obsolete, were literally fulfilled within just a few years of him writing this letter.  Rome destroyed the city of Jerusalem  and the Temple in 70 A.D.   Without the Temple, there was no altar, no Holy Place, no Holy of Holies, no mercy seat.  There was no place to minister and offer sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins.  The Old Covenant truly was obsolete!

Be sure to share your comments and questions.  They are THE best part of this study for me.  I love watching God work in and through our time together.

See you next week!! 

Blessings,

Comments

  1. Lorraine Nyahora says:

    Hie Wendy its lovely to be still with the girls and going on Eight. I just want to share what came to my mind regarding the differences between the Levitical priest hood and Jesus priest hood. I have come to realize that our Saviour Jesus came to take away sin once and for all. The Levitical priest hood the word says on a daily basis there had to make offerings on behalf of people but our Lord Jesus said it is finished. So nice to live in the knowledge that you and I are free and there is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ.

  2. Abba… Thank You for beautiful Wendy. Thank You that she leads with such wisdom, grace, and that she’s approachable by being so real with her feelings. Of course we ALL have those emotions she mentioned when we’re weary. It’s so easy to turn away from You during those times… I know I’ve done that countless times. But You gave us a leader whose life is a beaming example of what happens when we tender our heart and press into You. Thank You for breathing new life into her. Thank You for that illustration which will stay with all of us when we are weary. Bless Wendy with renewed strength so she will soar on wings like eagles… so she will run and not grow weary… so she will walk and not be faint as she cares for her precious Lauren. You tell us that You are Wendy’s caretaker… until her old age, You will care for her and sustain her. Let her continue to fall back into Your arms and care. Please bless Lauren with complete healing from her wisdom teeth surgery. Protect her from any complications. Free her from pain. Bless this beautiful Mom and Daughter duo… let this time be a time where they grow even deeper in intimacy with You and with each other. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen!

    I love you Wendy! (and I am loving and growing in this awesome study!)

    • What a precious prayer. Thank you, Noelle. I am truly humbled by yoru words and so thankful for your gifts of prayer and encouragement. Lauren did so well. She is back at UGA now, and I miss her so. We have texted back and forth so much today!!

      I too am growing in this study. It has been the most challenging study I have ever taught and stretches me beyond what seems possible as a teacher.

      Love,

      W

      • this is a wonderful, encouraging, calming start to my morning before i go to work. this is how i need to start my day, every day.

  3. Okay Wendy… my heart is on fire :) I have used the power of visualization ever since I was 8 and my Dad/basketball coach used to make me shoot free throws in my mind picturing “nothing but net!” I have to tell you, as you ended Hebrews 7, and now in Hebrews 8, you’ve brought us such monumental visuals that I know I need to meditate on. I can literally picture Jesus interceding on my behalf through your writing in the chapter 7 questions. I can see Him seated at the right hand of God, but standing the moment I look to Him from your chapter 8 video. I also had no idea that the tabernacle- in all of the detailed instructions for its construction- was a prototype of what I’ll see in heaven one day. Holy cow. I’m trying to picture it so I can lock it into my mind! I also love the pictures in my mind and heart of my parents in His presence. These visions in my heart bring me hope and excitement for the future, and it helps give me perspective on how I need to prioritize and live each day. Whew… I think I needed that to start this week! Thank you! xoxo

    • i agree – the visuals are inspiring and makes me feel closer to understanding the picture of God and Jesus – what a relationship!

  4. Charlotte Askew says:

    To mirror Noelle’s words above…I too am “on fire” about Chapter 8. I became like this just from listening to your teaching on the video. I so look forward each week to that short video. I read the chapter before I watch the video and it never ceases to amaze me how your video brings that chapter to life. Just amazingly blessed are we, the ones that are participating in this teaching of yours Wendy. Very blessed indeed. Now, on to some indepth study based on your questions. Have a blessed week my friend.

    • Thank you, Charlotte. These next few chapters are so deep and full of difficult and powerful truths and will take all our prayers to understand and digest!!!

      W

  5. Wendy,

    Thank you for this marvelous study and teaching on Hebrews….I’m enjoying to dig so deeply in the Word…so much growth.
    Unfortunately, I am not able to have time to come here and share with all my sisters…as a single mother, working and studying, I struggle to manage my time more efficiently (actually, I would like to ask for prayers for me about that. Thank you). But I wanted to let you know that through this study, I am so much more aware of the reality of Christ in my life…in me, and of the power of the Holy Spirit that is available to me….living in me. I feel more united with the Lord now, start experiencing the heavenly life…in spite of the hardships and difficult circumstances, I feel like I have already obtained what I ask in prayer ( I don’t know if I am explaining it well!).
    Moreover, if in these 3 years and 10 months of my journey with Jesus in my life I had been struggling so much with feelings of guilt over my past wrong choices and the consequences of this, now I know that each time Satan condemn me, I have my Jesus petitioning in my behalf: how great is this! I feel so much released.
    I might not be successful in the world’s eyes, but I am getting to know more and more God and His love for me, and this is the real purpose of life! Thank you my Lord.

    Now I can’t wait to start chapter 8 tomorrow morning during my quite time: over here I receive your lesson in the late afternoon, so I always start on Tuesdays!

    With affections,
    Erica from Italy

    • Hi, Erica,
      I am lifting you up today that Jesus will encourage you with His peace and love! May He hold you up when you are tired and bless you!
      Susan

    • Erica,

      I just love hearing how being in God’s Word has enriched and transformed your life. That is what He promises!! May He continue to fill you daily as you meet Him in His Word and may He strengthen you and guide you as you raise your precious girl. Rememeber, you are never alone. He will never leave you or forsake you!!

      Love,

      Wendy

  6. I am so thankful that I have been blessed with this study of Hebrews. Thank you Wendy for helping me to receive the emails when I could not make it work. This study has helped me grow in my faith of my Lord Jesus Christ and in knowledge of his ultimate priesthood! I, too, love the visual of my mighty Savior sitting at the right of God and standing to help ME. How amazing is our worth that Jesus would stand for us?! Praise God for such a wonderful and rich study! I pray that this study stays in our hearts always as we walk through this world, knowing our High Priest and mediator is the most amazing Savior! May the Lord continue to bles us all through our studies of His word.

    • Thank you for these sweet words of encouragement and your prayer for all of us to keep God’s Word from Hebrews hidden in our hearts and to continue to bless and grow us as we study!! I join you in this prayer.

      W

  7. Amazing! I have not started my assignments yet, just listening to the video message today but wanted to tell y’ll that our nationwide strike has been called off and we are back at work!

    Yay!!!

    Best regards,
    Olayinka

  8. Hi, Wendy, just saw your video for ch 8. I’d missed the point about him sitting down. Wow. Then to picture him standing up for us at a moment’s notice. Wonderful Counselor.

    And the part about how the old covenant was not wrong, but obsolete was really important. He fulfilled that old covenant with his death and resurrection. The Passover seder is a testimony to this when you take each element apart. (Very cool).

    Thank you for this study, Wendy. It is SO do-able!! Even with the holidays and all the clutter of life, I never felt I had to give up and neither did you. This is a great format.

    I hope you will be encouraged, Erica, and keep doing what you can when you can. I know you will.

    <Sandra

    • I too LOVE the image of Jesus sitting down and then standing when we need Him!!!! He is our Advocate and ALWAYS there for us…never to leave us or forsake us.

      W

  9. Hi, Wendy and Friends,
    I too really got so much out of the video segment this week. I had never realized that Jesus did not enter the Holy of Holies while on earth or what significance that had. Also the fact that He SAT down after He completed sacrificing His life for ours is such an AHA moment for me! I am also so grateful that Jesus is actively interceding in my life as I need Him – even when I don’t know that I will need Him. It also struck a chord as I studied the verses about the Holy Spirit and his role in my life. I am holding to the verse that said that the Holy Spirit moves us and praying that He would continue to move me so that I can be the mother and wife and daugther that He sees me to be. I also must constantly remind myself of how our sins are no more – He chooses to remember them no more – so I should not give in to Satan’s attempts to beat me up over and over for my poor choices in my past. Thank you for all your time and energy to faithfully teach us, Wendy!

  10. Searching deep to understand Jesus sitting at the right hand of the heavenly throne in the heavenly Sanctuary of the Tabernacle and standing in intercession for me and my sins with my Heavenly Father brings me to tears. I am so humbled that it is hard to accept that I am worth it, but Jesus says I am. THANK YOU Jesus! As I was meditating on Hebrew 8:2″ and who serves” in the NIV or “and who minister” in other version is powerful. I had to go research what the high priest did when he “served or minister” to the people of Israel so I could understand more clearly what Jesus is doing for me in heaven. WOW again I am humbled and speechless. Jesus’ service or ministry to his believes continues in heaven as he presence us to God. He’s standing in prayer and praise in agreement with us before our loving Father.

  11. sister in christ says:

    Hi everyone,

    I am just in awe at God’s mercy. The mercy seat is the place in the heavenly tabernacle that is moving me today. WOW!!! Christ not only offered His life for me, but He continues to intercede on my behalf. I can’t even wrap my mind around that. Jesus is my rock and my shield. I can’t do anything without Him being by my side. That is what I am focused on right now…He is by my side. So knowing that it makes me aware of what I am doing, where I am going and what I am saying. I really don’t want to drag Jesus anywhere He would not want to be.

    Wendy Thank You soooo much for this study. What a blessing it has been!

  12. This is such a powerful lesson, Wendy. I just wanted to share how God is raising the level of gratitude and awareness in my Christian walk with regard to Christ’s ongoing intercessory cry on my behalf. Thank you for your part in allowing God to facilitate that in my life (and in the lives of others). May your focus be continually on the Father’s heart for his kids. :)

    Blessings!

  13. I just finished my lesson and it feels so good to dig in His word and to learn learn about our Jesus….I have never been great or even interested in history but this is the Holy Spirit working in my life and to know that He is here helping me learn it is just awesome.

    Friends have commmented to others how happy I am Yes I am Jesus just fills me up with his love and it makes me just want to shout Hallelujah! Oh how I love Jesus ;-)

    thank You Wendy God has given you the gift to teach
    Love Virgie

    • at the cross, at the cross
      where i first saw the Light
      and the burden of my heart rolled away
      it was there by faith, i received my sight
      and now i am HAPPY all the day!

  14. You almost got 10 posts from me… because I wanted to shout, “I totally agree!” with every comment posted :) All of you girlfriends ROCK!

    In the past, I had always been intimidated to try to understand the tabernacle. I seemed to tune out the moment I heard “cubit”. But as Sandra said, Wendy, you haven’t wavered through this study… the most challenging one yet as a teacher… and I don’t want to waver in learning what God has for me as your student and friend.

    If I’m being completely honest, I spend most of my time in the Holy Place. Like Martha with her pots and pans, I can get busy in serving. I pray that God will make Jesus… in all of His power, all of His salvation and sacrifice, all of His pure love, in all of His ministering, serving, interceding… a true reality in my life. I pray that God will make this so real to me that I move from the Holy Place to the Holy of Holies… and like Mary, learn to be still and stay in His Presence no matter what I am doing. I had been so focused on becoming the Proverbs 31 wife, but I realized I can easily become a clanging cymbal because I’m not doing my serving rooted deeply enough in love which will come from staying in the Holy of Holies.

    Whew! What a great study. You bless us beyond measure Wendy! Girlfriends, you light my heart up! Have an awesome day all!

    • Yanna Westmoreland says:

      Noelle, if you ever have the opportunity to study A Woman’s Heart God’s Dwelling Place with Beth Moore it really helped me to understand the Tabernacle. I love your enthusiasim and felt it across the internet. :)

      • Very cool… I checked it out on Amazon! That may very well be my next study. Thank you so much- I wouldn’t have known about that otherwise! Hugs Yanna!

    • Charlotte Askew says:

      I enjoy Beth Moore’s book too. I have not read one in quite sometime. I will add this to my “want-to-read” list for 2012.

    • Charlotte Askew says:

      Noelle, I so agree with what you said …..

      “I pray that God will make Jesus… in all of His power, all of His salvation and sacrifice, all of His pure love, in all of His ministering, serving, interceding… a true reality in my life. I pray that God will make this so real to me that I move from the Holy Place to the Holy of Holies… and like Mary, learn to be still and stay in His Presence no matter what I am doing”………………..

      that is the same thing that I long for. I adore this love affair that I have with Jesus, the way that some days He opens my mind to grasp and understand His words and then other days, He lets me struggle and search, trying to reach the depth of what He wants me to hear. He keeps that desire burning deep within my soul for Him. He will not allow me to get to a complacent place in our love affair. Aren’t I thankful!!!!

  15. Yanna Westmoreland says:

    God Moment Alert! Woo God. So I started James Mercy Triumphs Beth Moore study with local Ladies Bible Class last week. I was blessed to go to Beth’s James study when she was writing the study for publication, we received homework but modified. I love having two studies going at the same time, there is no excuse for not feeding on God’s Word for me when I do that. I have had to prioritize my time so I can complete homework for both studies and fully engage my heart, soul, and mind toward what I am learning. Love this weeks prayer Wendy; it gets me focused right off and I copied it and put it into my Bible to pray often. It’s also fun to see how one study coincides with another when they are randomly brought together. This leads me to my God Moment Alert. :)

    Question 8 I could not turn the pages fast enough and still have goosebumps how Hebrews and James are linked. The Bible has a thread going all the way through it weaving around like a wonderful tapestry. Wendy thank you for challenging me each and every question. I have had to stretch my mind and really go deep. I am so thankful to have question 8 to share with the ladies when I go to LBC this morning so they too can see the steps taken to include all the ends of the earth. How Great is our God!!! The inside of my soul wants to explode if I could just do that and share Him with everyone…reminds me of a song it only takes a spark to get the fire going…picture each of us as firework sparklers that’s me….

  16. Hi Ladies, I really appreciate your comments. They help me get so much more out of each chapter. I am struggling a bit with the tabernacle question (#3). I feel like I missed something along the way because I can not describe the tabernacle in detail….where did you get the image of it? I do understand the Holy of Holies section of the tabernacle where only the high priest would go. I believe there was a section where the sacrifice was killed and the blood drained but that is about all I know about this tabernacle. Please share with me so I can learn more about this.

    Thank you all. God Bless you daily in your walk.

    Kim

  17. Jude from PA says:

    Wendy,

    I just want to tell you what a blessing this bible study has been for me. I so understand this Jesus as our High Priest thing so clearly now. Thank you for sharing this study with us.

    Jude

  18. I enjoy reading each comment to feel the excitment and to see how each one of us are growing in this study…I cant wait till we can start digging into chapter nine. Love to all your sister in Christ hugs and kisses to all

  19. I just finished chapter 8, one thing I am figuring out is I learn in layers. Every time I do a new study, or a new thing, I add knowledge, layers to what I already know. I love how you said God had a master plan all along to reconcile His people back to Himself after the fall. But this plan had stages. Its the part that His plan had stages that really helped me gain more understanding. I kept thinking why didnt God just send Jesus right away, instead of the law first. God had a perfect plan.

  20. Hey there Wendy!

    Robin here. In my quiet time, I was disturbed to share something with you girls about Jesus as our Advocate. In chapter 8 we see Him sitting down on the right of our Father, resting. As I was reading this, I got a picture in my mind of a courtroom scene and Jesus as our Heavenly Lawyer.

    When He sat down, he ‘rested’ the case against us. The accused could spew no evidence against us because what was presented was the perfect life of Jesus, not ours. How many times would a mother or father stand in the place of their child rather than have their child on trial in a death penalty case? Instead of us sitting at the defense table, it was Jesus. Praise God! We sit in the audience with tears streaming down our faces as the saved.

    Likewise, I also could envision someone who hadn’t accepted Christ as savior standing at the defense table. Uh oh! There was no one there to defend that person, like a fool who represents themselves in court.. There they are standing in full judgement of God and every accusation that is hurtled at them is ‘rests’ instead on that person. Oh, sorrow of sorrows!

    Jesus is sitting behind the person in the courtroom audience with tears streaming down His sweet face.

    What a picture of Law and Grace. Girls, share Jesus’s grace today with someone who needs him to stand in their place.

    xoxox Robin

    • Robin, I absolutely love this visual and what it means for us as God’s children!! And as a lawyer, it really hits home and makes perfect sense to me. Thank you for sharing this with us!!! And thank you for encouraging us to share Jesus’ grace today with someone who needs Him to stand in their place.

      With much gratitude!!

      Wendy

    • My friend! Yet again you painted a perfect picture which I’ll keep in my mind and heart. God bless us all with courage because you’re so right- that is the reality of true sorrow vs true victory by grace. Thank you. I love you!

  21. Martha T. says:

    What an amazing chapter this has been! As you said in your video,it gets richer each week! Thanks for doing this study!

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