STATEMENTS OF PERSUASION 14 by Pastor Olawunmi Abraham Marcel

Statements of persuasion from Hebrews…(14)

In the last post, we endeavoured to explain the what the statement of persuasion from Hebrews 10:23-26 was. We also found out the purpose and content of Christian meetings. We also explained what it meant for the ‘day to approach’. Today, we move on to another statement of persuasion from the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 12:1-2, ‘Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’

There are four key terms we’d examine in this portion, as we seek to explain why it is a statement of persuasion. They are, ‘cloud of witnesses’, ‘run with patience the race set’, ‘looking unto Jesus’ and ‘author and finisher of faith’. Before we analyze these, let’s examine the pretext; Hebrews 11:39-40, ‘And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.’ What is the promise that wasn’t received? Acts 13:32-33, ‘And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.’

The ‘perfect’ happened when Christ rose from the dead. This is why the Fathers in Hebrews 11 are called ‘Just men made perfect’ in Hebrews 12:23. The resurrection of Jesus is the promise fulfilled. This is why he says, ‘Therefore, seeing we are compassed by a great cloud of witnesses…let us run the race set before us…’. Let’s see those terms. Firstly, we have ‘a cloud of witnesses’. ‘Cloud’ refers to a ‘dense multitude’. ‘Witnesses’ refer to ‘those who attest to the validity of a fact’.

What were the patriarchs, witnesses to? Hebrews 11:3, ‘Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.’ Here, he says that IN FAITH, we understand that the dispensations were caused, brought about by the word of God, so that what was seen (observable activities) were made of things which do not appear. What was the word of God? It was the promise God made. Concerning whom? The resurrected Jesus.

The dispensations (Abel’s sacrifice, Noah’s ark etc) as listed in Hebrews 11 were brought into being by God’s promise of the resurrection of Christ. The patriarchs ATTEST to this ALL IMPORTANT fact of the Gospel. The Gospel deals with the glorious resurrection of Jesus.

Hence, the author in convincing the unbelieving Jew calls their attention to the focus of the faith of the Fathers; Jesus resurrected. We’ll continue later. #Dunamis

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STATEMENTS OF PERSUASION 13 by Pastor Olawunmi Abraham Marcel

Statements of persuasion from Hebrews…(13)

In the last post, we looked at the call to ‘draw near’ with a true heart with full assurance of faith. The reason we can tell the sinner this is because by the redemptive work of Christ, humanity has boldness to enter into the holiest of all.

Today, we go further to yet another statement of persuasion; Hebrews 10:23-26, ‘Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,’.

The statement of persuasion here is; let us hold fast the profession of (‘our’ isn’t in the originals) faith. He then gives support to this claim; for he is faithful that promised. Salvation is a call into God’s faithfulness. It’s the celebration of God’s ability to keep his Word. He will save to the uttermost. Then, he proceeds to give a very important instruction as to the character and content of Christian gatherings. He says, ‘to consider one another to provoke one and other unto love and good works’.

Christian meetings are to foster spiritual growth. They are not to entertain the senses… Rather, they are to provide information that gives the Spirit much more influence over the mind. Therefore, we don’t have the latitude to choose what happens in our meetings. We have a pattern defined for us!

Another thing he says is to ‘exhort one another while you see the day approaching’. Contrary to what some folks think..It doesn’t refer to the rapture. What does it refer to? Let’s see a similar expression. Hebrews 3:13, ‘But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.’ He says ‘today’ here and in Hebrews 10:25, ‘as you see the day approaching’. They refer to one and the same thing. The day talked about in Hebrews, as explained in chapter 4 is the day of rest, the day of salvation. Why did the author use the phrase ‘as you see the day approaching’? Simple! He is describing faith and salvation from the thresholds of history. This is why he ends the exhortation in Chapter 10 with this; Hebrews 10:39, ‘But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.’ OF THEM?

Who are these? The first are the unbelieving Jews (Hebrews 4:2), the second are the patriarchs (whose faith in salvation as a futuristic phenomenon is described in chapter 11). Hebrews 6:12, ‘That ye be not slothful, but followers OF THEM who through faith and patience inherit the promises.’ But for us, the DAY HAS COME! It is TODAY! He emphasizes why the need to ‘exhort’ is necessary. So that, men wouldn’t sin willfully, which will be to fall after the same example of unbelief. This also informs us about the content of Christian meetings.

Whatever must be taught should be sufficient to grow people as well as persuade the unbelieving. The Scriptures are given for such a purpose. 2 Timothy 3:15-16, ‘And that, from a babe, those sacred letters, thou hast known which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through the faith which is in Christ Jesus: Every scripture, [is] God breathed, and profitable unto teaching, unto conviction, unto correction, unto the discipline that is in righteousness,’.

As Scriptures make wise unto salvation which through faith in Jesus, they are for conviction…To convince people towards faith in Christ as well as to ‘discipline’, to bring up in righteousness, those already saved. This should be the character of the messages of our meetings. We’ll continue later. #Dunamis