Full text of Zac Poonen’s teaching on ‘LETTER TO THE HEBREWS’ (Part 1) which is part of the popular series called Through The Bible.
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Zac Poonen – Bible Teacher
Let’s turn now to the letter to the Hebrews.
Now, if you use a King James Version, you probably see at the top of it: THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS.
Now, this is one of those unusual books in the New Testament where there is no record within the letter or book as to who wrote it and to whom it was written. Paul, whenever he wrote a letter, he always put his name at the beginning and wrote to whom he was writing. So, if that was his habit, then probably Paul did not write this, and probably it’s not Paul’s letter.
The second thing is, we don’t know to whom it was written. And the reason why they gave the title to this book as Hebrews is not because of anything inside the book. I mean, no evidence that it was to the Hebrews. It’s because there are so many references to the Old Testament and to the priesthood of Aaron and Moses and many things like that, and Melchizedek, that it’s assumed that it’s written to someone who is very familiar with the Old Testament and therefore possibly Hebrew Christians, Jewish Christians.
But, as far as we’re concerned, that doesn’t really interest us too much. That’s for those who want to get doctorates in theology who study all that type of stuff. We’re more interested in seeing what God is trying to speak to us. It doesn’t matter who wrote it. The Holy Spirit wrote it. That’s enough for me.
And it doesn’t matter if we don’t know to whom it was written, it was written for me. So, it’s the Holy Spirit’s book to me, as far as I’m concerned. And it’s not very important that we don’t know in that first century to whom it was written.
But it’s a very profound book. And I don’t know how many believers read it carefully. And I think believers are more into other books like Romans and Philippians and not so much in Hebrews. But that could be a work of the devil preventing believers from reading this wonderful book.
This book reveals the humanity of Jesus Christ our Lord more than perhaps any other book in the entire New Testament. And what the humanity of Christ means for us, the practical implications of that for us.
See, every truth in Scripture has a practical implication. Because Jesus Christ is God, we worship Him. We pray to Him. And because He is man, what? We need to ask ourselves, does it have any practical implication for us? We can say because He was a man, He died for our sins.
BUT IN WHAT WAY DOES THAT HAVE SOME PRACTICAL IMPLICATION FOR YOUR LIFE TODAY?
If you say that there is no practical implication, then the humanity of Christ is a dead doctrine for you. And a dead doctrine is like a dead muscle. It may be there, but you don’t use it. You know what happens to a muscle in your body if you don’t use it for a long time? It dies. That’s why people who are in bed in a hospital for a long time, when they get up, they almost have to learn how to walk again. Because their muscles have become so weak.
So any doctrine in Scripture, even if you say that you believe it, if it has no practical application in your daily life, it’s almost like a muscle you’re not using. And after some time, you lose it altogether. And because most Christians have not sought for some practical application of the truth of Jesus becoming a man in our daily life, they have lost it. I really believe it, that today when somebody gets up and proclaims that Jesus was a man and the practical application of it, people call him a heretic.
WHY DO THEY CALL HIM A HERETIC? Because they’ve lost the use of that muscle. They’ve lost the use of that doctrine.
When Martin Luther proclaimed justification by faith, people called him a heretic. Because they had lost that doctrine for centuries. And whenever a doctrine is lost and somebody brings it out, he’s always called a heretic. The next generation will call him a prophet, but the current generation will call him a heretic. This has always been true in church history.
When people began to proclaim the baptism in the Holy Spirit over a hundred years ago, everybody called them heretics. Now, of course, they recognize that it was a real move of the Holy Spirit.
So it’s the same thing here with the humanity of Christ. Very rarely do you find in churches any preaching on the humanity of Christ. Have you found people telling you about what it means for you today that Jesus was a man? We know what it means that He was God. We worship Him and pray to Him.
Because He’s a man, we can follow Him. If He were not a man like us, we cannot follow Him. That is so important. And that is what the book of Hebrews is presenting: Jesus as a man. And we could say that one of the phrases or thoughts that come through this book of Hebrews is: CONSIDER JESUS. It comes in chapter 3, verse 1. Somewhat similar words in chapter 8, verse 1. Somewhat similar in chapter 12, verse 2 and 3: Looking unto Jesus. Consider Jesus. In a sense, that is the theme of this letter.
PRESSING ON TO PERFECTION is something else we could say is a theme in this letter. The word better occurs about thirteen times in this letter. Better sacrifice, better resurrection, better covenant, better promises, better mediator. Many things like that. And other words like perfect, perfection, heavenly, eternal. Many things like this.
ENTERING INTO THE HOLIEST is another theme. We could say this book of Hebrews refers to entering into the most holy place into fellowship with God. So there are many things like this in this book which are the theme of this letter. And basically what it reveals is that if you can look at Jesus as a man, as your example, there you find the secret of an overcoming life. Of spiritual strength. You need the power of the Holy Spirit and you need the word of God. We don’t deny that. We have seen that often.
But you also need to see Jesus as a man. And just in case we get into a little over emphasis on that, HEBREWS CHAPTER 1 begins with saying that Jesus Christ is God. So that, you know, sometimes when — I’ve written a book on the humanity of Christ called Living as Jesus Lived. And in the first chapter I also needed to emphasize that I believe that Jesus Christ is God. That even when He was on earth, He was God. People worshiped Him.
Because when you speak about the humanity of Christ alone, people can begin to doubt, does this man believe that Jesus Christ was God? And I can see that the writer of the Hebrews had exactly the same thing. He thought if I, now I’m going to write about the humanity of Christ, what are people going to think? Are they going to think that I don’t believe that Jesus Christ is God? So he spends a whole chapter. His first chapter is proving that Jesus Christ is God. We don’t doubt that.
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