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Persevering Through Pressure - Part 7
Not Turning Back From Our Faith
NEW LIFE CHURCH
Pastor Marlin Harris
 

We are beginning in Chapter 7:10.  We’ve got a little bit more due diligence we need to deal with as it relates to Melchisedec but what I want to do is end a little early tonight so we are going to cut our teaching a just bit short so that we can get some answers to some questions you may have.  My intent in the question period is to make certain that you are fully understanding and fully grasping the information that is being shared as we teach these lessons, I want to be sure you are learning what we are teaching.  We are going to answer questions that we’ve already covered from Chapters 1 through 6.  We’ll do a little bit of teaching in Chapter 7

I will give a quick review so that you can be freshened regarding the information but it is very important to me that you are growing and understanding what we’re sharing.  The book of Hebrews is quite a detailed book, it is a very doctrinal book.  It has some pretty heavy and complicated themes throughout the book and I don’t want to finish it if you did not grasp all of it.  I think bible study is for us to come together and actually learn the Bible.  Amen.

So look at Chapter 7 very quickly and let me just spend a few minutes dealing with Chapter 7 and then we are going to do some recapping and then get some questions answered.  Beginning at verse 1, the first 10 verses talk about this priest that we met some time ago named Melchisedec.  Melchisedec was introduced to us in Chapter 5 but the writer stops his discussion about Melchisedec because he says that the readers were dull of hearing or not able to comprehend everything he was going to share which led him on a parenthetic tangent and he starts talking about how they ought to be growing and moving toward maturity and be very careful that you are growing, that you don’t fall back.  He says “we are not of them that fall back” much later in this book but he also deals with the whole idea that better things accompany our salvation, we are not going to fall back into apostasy or fall back into unbelief or rejecting the faith that we say we have received.  We are genuine in our salvation and our salvation is secure, its an anchor to our soul.  Then he comes back again in Chapter 6:20 and says

Hebrews 6

 20Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Hebrews 7

 1For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

 2To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all [his bounty, all of the spoil from the war he was in, that slaughter of the kings]; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

 3Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

That’s about as far as we got with Melchisedec.  We dealt with the historicity of this particular passage.  Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, that Abraham in Genesis 14 fought a battle against about four other kings and this battle that Abraham fought against these kings, because he was rescuing his nephew Lot from the area of Sodom and Gomorrah and as he was rescuing Lot from this onslaught that these kings were bringing to that land, he comes in with just a few folks and he goes in and fights this war against other nations.  He wins this battle, rescues his nephew and all their family, they are coming out along with the spoil from these armies that they have defeated.  I think it was somewhere near about 300 people that Abraham had with him, his servants and his slaves in his house and the rest.  We are not talking about armed individuals or trained warriors, we are talking about regular people and they go down as vigilantes and they beat up on armies.  God certainly brought this victory. 

On his way back from the slaughter with all of the loot and all of the spoil from the armies he just conquered he meets this king called Melchisedec.  Melchisedec is the prefigure of Jesus Christ.  He is not Jesus Christ, Melchisedec is not Jesus Christ, but he is the prefigure of Jesus Christ, and meeting Abraham in what I believe to be a Christophany or a pre-meeting of the Christ in an angelic or a human form, much like the fourth man in the fire in Shadrach, Meshach; and Abednego’s experience in Daniel; that fourth man – the form of the Son of God was a Christophany.  What it simply means is it was a figure or a prefigure of Jesus Christ in the form of an angel or in the form of another person.  The Bible talks about angelophanies[1] even in the book of Hebrews – it says be careful how you entertain strangers[2] because in doing so you may have entertained angels unaware.  It doesn’t mean they are not real people, human people these strangers, sure they are, but they are also angels in their figure, angels in how they symbolize to us, what they symbolize to us, he says God can be utilizing that person in an angel form or in an angel being.

So this is what takes place often in the Old Testament as God and Christ show up in these different formalities and I believe that Melchisedec was one of those forms.  He meets Abraham and Abraham starts to give to him a tithe of the spoil and it speaks about who this Melchisedec was.  He was a man without a recorded genealogy.  He has no father and no mother.  Now whether he actually had a father or mother I don’t know, but the Bible says he didn’t have one.  So if the Scripture says he didn’t have one, I don’t believe he had one because he is in the figure of Jesus Christ.  He has no descendants.  He is both King and Priest.  This rules him out for being a part of the Levitical priesthood.  The Levitical priesthood are certainly not kings, they have not even been born yet.  Abraham has not even had a child yet and the Levitical priesthood comes through Abraham, so there’s no child, no Levitical priesthood but yet there is a priest, and this priest is both a priest and king of a place called Salem.

Now Salem is the prefigure of Jerusalem and Jerusalem is God’s Holy City.  It is the city of God in the land of promise that Abraham was promised to be the heir of and that this land, Abraham’s land and Abraham’s lineage would bring forth the Messiah.  Now Salem did not have an awareness of the most high god at the time that Abraham met him; it was a pagan and heathen place.  Many scholars have said there wasn’t even a place called Salem, that Salem or Jerusalem was not the name of it when Abraham met it.  It was under some pagan authority, pagan control and heathen nations.  This man comes with not only knowledge of the most High God but he also comes as a priest of the most High God.  The function of a priest is to stand as a go-between, between man and God and he brings man to God and God to man.  This man Melchisedec is a priest of God Most High from Salem, which is God’s Holy City but none of this has been established yet.

It’s almost like back from the future or it’s a strange scenario.  You meet someone who is the physical representation and embodiment of something God has promised that hasn’t even happened yet.  It’s an amazing meeting.  It is also a meeting where Abraham gets to meet the seed in figure form, it was not Jesus, but he gets to meet the seed that was promised to him that will come generations and generations and generations later.  He meets the figure of the Christ, Messiah, who Abraham is supposed to be the great, great, great, great, etc. granddaddy of and he meets this man through Melchisedec from a place that doesn’t even exist, being a figure of a person who hadn’t even been born yet.  Are you getting how awesome this meeting is.  It’s almost like you meeting your great, great great-grandchild with some specific details that you didn’t even know and the grandchild represents for you stuff that hasn’t even happened yet.  It’s awesome.  I don’t what other word I can use to explain this phenomenon.

Now it says in verse 4,

 4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.  (The spoils are what you get when you win a battle – you get all the enemies stuff right)

 5And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

 6But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.

 7And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

Now he mentions this whole issue of tithing and that’s what I want to talk about tonight, tithing.  First of all I need to be very clear that if you can start thinking with me from a religious perspective (I just want you to think religion for just a minute), think stained glass windows, robes, all the religious ideas and symbols that you can in your mind – this is what the text is strongly teaching against.  It will get deeper as we get further into this Chapter.  The Levitical priesthood, the priesthood of the Levites, represents religion – the stuff I just told you to think about.  Religion is nothing more than a prescribed set of laws and practices that are supposed to bring man to God; that’s religion. 

There are many different religions.  Within our religion, for lack of a better word – Christianity – you have many different religious sects or religious beliefs.  There are some who believe one thing about Christianity and others who believe another thing about Christianity and note now our differences are almost always surrounded around doctrine.  Doctrine is what you believe God says about spiritual life.  We demonstrate our doctrinal beliefs through rules, rituals and practices.  We demonstrate what we believe through rules, rituals and practices.

For example:  We are a Baptist church.  We are in the Christian religion but we are of the Baptist persuasion in that religion.  So guess what we do?  We baptize because baptism for us becomes a demonstration of our religious persuasion or our religious convictions.  It is a practice that we practice to show you what our religion is.  And that’s great, there is nothing wrong with baptism.  The Episcopal church and the Presbyterian church they uplift the Eucharist – they uplift communion higher than any of the other denominations in our religion.  So in an Episcopal church the center of the worship is going to be the taking of the mass, taking of the Eucharist because they believe that Christ is relevant and real in the taking of the communion and it demonstrates for them something about their belief system in the bread and the wine being a little different from what it means to us.

So what do they do to show their belief in the idea of bread and wine being a medium towards salvation – because they believe that they practice the communion every service, and you can go on and on.  In the Methodist church they believe in methods and procedures, so they have written a whole book called the “Book of Discipline” and you have a list of rules and regulations and rituals which give methodology to their practice and their doctrine.  They are based upon a hierarchy system so you have pastors, elders, bishops, college of bishops, head bishop  -- everybody understand that.  It’s just practices.

Here’s the problem.  There’s nothing wrong with practices but the difficulty is whenever you start levying doctrinal weight to your practice.  I mean I am strongly considering and rethinking why we call our church Baptist.  I am strongly thinking about that.  If we are going to call our church Baptist somebody might get the idea, but we won’t because we know better, but when we put our church out to others they might get the idea that Baptism has a whole lot to do with salvation doctrinally.  As a matter of fact you cannot be a member of a Baptist church unless you submit to being baptized, which in actuality is not Bible, it is not Scripture, it is not the Word of God at all.  You are a member of the body of Christ, which is the church, because you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior; that’s why you are a member of the church – are you getting what I’m saying.

So you’ve got to be very careful that you don’t allow your practice to overrule doctrine because if your practice overrules the truth, then you make your practice an enemy of the truth.  And I know people who are more committed to their practice and their persuasion than they are to the truth.  I know folks who know their practice but don’t know the Bible.  They know their persuasion and the way they do it and what their rights and rituals are, but they don’t know the Word of God.  They have replaced truth with practice and what happens is if you replace truth with practice, you can do the right practices and never have accepted the truth.  So you can be out of truth but in practice and still not be saved.  Are you understanding what I’m saying.

It’s possible for us to be in practice, I mean I’m doing it right, I was baptized, I was serenaded, I went through everything, you know I was dipped, went through it all you know and now I am a member of the church – IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU SAVED.  What he is saying here is that there are two priesthoods and in both priesthoods there is a practice, and he uses one of tithing and he says “please understand that the tithing that we do, the offering unto God that we give to Him to demonstrate to Him that He is first and foremost in our lives – that’s what the tithe is.  He said understand it could be done in practice and it could be done in truth.  People who have a problem with tithing have a problem with tithing because of the practice of it, and what they say is “You know, I mean, that’s in the law; that’s the first thing you hear.  Tithing is a part of the law.  So put that checkmark on your notes please; tithing is in the law and because it is in the law and we are now in Grace we don’t have to do it anymore; that is nothing but all practice. 

What you are saying is there was a practice in the law that we used to have to do but now that we are not in the law anymore, we ain’t got to practice that no more.  You see how truth has nothing to do with it.  The second thing about tithing that is said is that “I don’t believe that God requires a certain amount be given to Him, that we should be able to give whatever we feel in our heart to give to God, that tithing was something that they said we had to do in the Old Testament because people didn’t have the Holy Spirit to guide them.  Now that we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, we no longer have to practice tithing anymore, we can give what we want to give.  Because what they’ve got a problem with is the practice of the tithe. 

And of course the last thing that people say, which is not in the Bible, “I don’t want to tithe because I don’t want to give the preacher all my money”.  First of all, if you tithe you ain’t giving all your money; tithing is a tenth guys.  Second thing is, no one person gets all the money in any – if you are in a church like that, where one person gets all the money, don’t get mad at tithing, get mad at the church.  Why is tithing the problem because some preacher is stealing the money.  Tithing isn’t the problem, the preacher is the problem.  Get a new preacher.  I mean don’t overhaul the whole system because one fellow got it all wrong. 

By the way, the preacher is not getting all the money.  The lights have to stay on, the air has to run, the mortgage has to be paid.  The preacher is not getting all the money.  So whenever we have problems with tithing because of the practice of it and the abuse of it.  Now let me just mention this if I could.  Though that last part was supposed to be funny, I got a little serious on it.  Any practice that you have can always be abused if its just a practice.  If all it is is a practice, it can always be abused. 

So lets look at this, not from the Levitical priesthood side which is the practice side, lets look at it from when tithing was originally started which is on the truth side when Abraham met Melchisedec.  This is the first instance in all of the Bible of tithing.  God regulated tithing through the Levitical priesthood because we’ve never did it in the heart that Abraham did it in.  Lets look at it, it says in verse 4,

 4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 

 5And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 

The commandment is given according to the law.  Abraham did not give tithes according to the law, he gave tithes according to his heart.  Abraham gave a tenth based on the passion and the heart that he had in front of the man that he just met.  Now he wasn’t giving the tenth to Melchisedec, he was giving the tenth to the God whom Melchisedec was the priest of.  So because he had an encounter with God’s priest (catch it), he had an encounter with a man who would bring him to God, his first response was “How can I demonstrate to this man that my love for God is supreme and first?”.  So what he did was he took of what God had given him (God had just given him a great battle, a great win, a great victory, he got all the spoils from that battle), Abraham took of what God had blessed him with miraculously and he gave what God gave him back unto God.  It is to dedicate unto God that which becomes primary in our lives.  For Abraham, the victory he just won was the most primary event of his life.  His livelihood, his substance, all that’s wrapped into that victory, he gives to God of the first foremost of what he had just secured from God.

Remember when Abraham had his son Isaac, God told Abraham this time I want you to tithe everything.  Take your only son and offer him as a burnt offering unto me.  Abraham give me Isaac as a burnt offering unto me.  Abraham said “No problem, I’m going to give you Isaac”.  He gets his son, marches him up to Mt. Moriah, and Abraham tells the other servant at the bottom of the mountain, he says “You stay here, me and the boy are going yonder” and catch the word “to worship, to worship”.  As a response of Abraham’s tithe to Melchesidec, Melchesidec blesses Abraham. 

When we worship God it is our blessing to God in which He blesses us in return.  It is an exchange of blessing.  He gave unto God his son Isaac as an act of worship.  He gives unto Melchesidec the tithe, Melchesidec blesses him as an act that he has worshipped God.  Tithing is worship.  It is worship.  The truth about the tithe is that it is to be done as an act of worship.  It is not done to get back.  It is not done to receive something back from God.  It is not done so that you can get more money or tenfold and fifty-fold and 100-fold, that’s craziness.  That is not why we tithe.  If you tithe to get something back, you tithe as a religious practice.  If you tithe because you are commanded to and if you don’t God is going to get you and curse you, you tithe as a religious practice. 

When you tithe you should tithe as a act of worship.  Now catch this!  Because we won’t tithe as an act of worship naturally, God has to make a commandment to Levi to take the tithe.  Melchisedec was never commanded to take the tithe.  Melchisedec never asked for the tithe.  He never requested the tithe.  Abraham gave the tithe voluntarily to Melchisedec as an act of worship.

Now lets read on a little bit.  It says

 6But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.

He’s not connected with the Levitical priesthood at all.  He has no connection to Abraham’s children in any way.  He’s not even from Abraham.  He receives tithes of Abraham outside of a religious order, outside of a religious system.  It goes on to say,

 7And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

 8And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

Who is the tithe being given to?  It says “here” – the writer is saying “On the earth, right now today, in the Levitical system, men that die receive the tithe, the Levites, the priests, the religious system, the religious order, they receive the tithe.  He says “but there” and there means back in Abraham’s day in that valley where Abraham met Melchisedec, there the one who doesn’t die received the tithe.  The problem with religion is when we give or serve or anything we do in a religious order, when we do it in religion for the purpose of pointing to satisfying a man or some social group of men.  When you do your practice to God, not as a religious practice – you are doing it in truth to God, you do it with no regard of man at all.  Lets read that verse again.  He says

 8And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

The whole issue that Melchisedec prefigured Christ and Abraham gave a tithe to Melchisedec which would be Abraham giving a tithe in figure to Christ, Abraham gives his worship to Christ with some tangible thing; that when you worship God you worship God in a tangible way.  I take issue with people who want to worship God but they have no desire to do anything tangible in that worship.  No one in the Scriptures whoever worshipped God worshipped God without incorporating something tangible in their worship.  Jacob built a well and worshipped God.  Isaac built an altar and worshipped God.  Abraham gave a tithe and worshipped God, are you getting what I’m saying.  David had it in his heart to built God a temple to worship God.  Moses constructed a tabernacle to worship God.  When men worship God they worship God in a tangible way because it is the normal, natural progression of one’s personal feeling.  When you love somebody you give them something, don’t you.  If it ain’t nothing but a word, you at least tell them you  love them.  You can’t love somebody and you never said it, you never demonstrated it, you never showed it, you never did anything to show you loved them. 

Now I was like that at one time, when I was a little kid in middle school, and I had a crush on such and such a girl, and I loved her so much, I had this deep crush on her – it was burning inside to do something because I wanted her to know how I felt about her.  So I went down to the store and I bought 99 cent earrings, the kind that are gold on Monday but by Wednesday they had silver to them (laughter), and I came and gave her something, hoping that she would catch the point.  I wanted to tell her something, I wanted to give her something – it took everything within me not to do something tangible to demonstrate my adoration for her.  Are you getting what I’m saying to you?

I love my wife, I love my wife but if I never tell my wife I love her, if I never demonstrate that tangibly – I mean if she just knows I love her because “I hope he does.  Well I just know him, he’s a lovable kind of guy”.  She needs to know that and if I truly love her, there is something in me that wants to tell her that, there is something in me that wants to show her that.  And our worship to God, the tithe, is an act of our love for Him.  It’s our demonstration of our worship to God.  We do something tangible to Him.  I believe to keep us from giving Him everything He had to say “Give a tenth” because if He didn’t say give a tenth I might give Him everything I have because that’s how much I love Him.  Are you getting what I’m saying.

We are taught about the first fruits here and we said that if the first fruit is holy then the whole lump is holy, the first fruits is the first thing that comes out of the crop and it shows the quality of everything else in the crop.  Your tithe is your first fruits unto God.  You don’t have to give Him everything in your substance.  When you give Him your tithe, you are saying “Lord I am giving to you first as priority, primary I’m giving this to you first that shows that nothing I have on this earth means more to me than You.  So I give you what I have first”.

Remember whenever the death angel came by in Egypt and the last plague and he said the firstborn of every family will die unless the blood was over the doorposts.  The firstborn of the family shows God is saying “sin costs you everything”.  When you sin it costs everything but because I am going to show a little mercy I won’t take everything, I will take the first thing of your everything.  The whole principle of first fruit is what tithing is.  Tithing is not something we do because we are religiously commanded to do it.  Tithing is something we do because we are passionately in love with God and can’t help ourselves from doing it. 

Now I’m going to stop and get into some questions and do a little quick recap but I want to ask you, don’t raise your hand, do you tithe or do you not?  Now let me explain to you what I mean when I say tithe?  Every time you win a battle your heart’s desire is to give the first part to God.  Every time you win one, got it.  Every Friday when you get paid you just won a battle, the great battle you won the whole week you just won a strong battle.  Is it your heart to give that to God; that was facicious, I’m being funny but I’m trying to express my point.  With everything you have, with all that God has given you, not just your substance but your talents, your ability, your time, your energy, your youthfulness, your wisdom, your know-how, your skill, your knowledge – do you have a passion to give God the first part of that?  Are you hearing me?  See I’m not talking at this point just about your car that you drive and the money you make and what’s in your bank account, I’m talking about everything that you have.  Do you tithe?

People tell me “Pastor, I tithe I just don’t tithe money”.  I tithe my time, I tithe my talents, energy, but I keep all my money”.  To them I say “You misunderstand the whole idea of what substance is” because the Bible is very clear that it is the love of money that is the root of evil, not the love of skill, not the love of self, not the love of the flesh, the love of the money is the root of all evil.  Jesus said “whenever there is contention between masters, he said trust me “the contention is between me and money”.  He said I have no contention against anything else in your life; whenever there is a contention between masters it’s me and money because money demonstrates the life I have on this earth.  Money is the thing, the Bible says, that answers what kind of life I live on this earth.  For people who are natural, fleshly and carnal this earth is what comes first.  For people who are spiritual the heavenly realm is what comes first, are you getting it?  There’s only two here.  Money does on the earth what faith and love does in the spirit.  He says which one is going to be your master.

When you tell Him Lord I want you to know that you are my master, therefore nothing on this earth means more to me than you, I give you a tithe of my time, a tithe of my talent, a tithe of my skills, a tithe of my abilities, a tithe of my youth, a tithe of my energy and I give you a tithe of what’s greater than all of that in my carnal world, in my carnal self, a tithe of my substance and my livelihood.  When you do that, when you give that to God you make the statement to God that He comes first over everything.  My second issue to folks who tithe their money but they don’t tithe anything else.  I mean I know many people who say “Pastor I give, I’m a great giver, I have no problem giving money, but don’t ask me to do anything, I ain’t witnessing, I ain’t evangelizing – I have issue with that because if you tithe your money and you understand the truth of the principle, then you can’t not tithe in other areas.  And if all you ever give God is your money, I question if you understand the truth of your giving.  It sounds like you are giving out of practice and if you are giving out of practice, its like getting baptized and saying “I’m a member of the Baptist church”.  You may be a member of the Baptist church but you are not a member of God’s church just because you got baptized. 

So he says

 9And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.

This is not just something the laity and the church members ought to do, everybody is to do this.

 10For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

Lets stop there and we’ll look at verse 11 as we spend time together next week.  Very quickly turn to Chapter 1 and if you are taking notes you can jot these things down very quickly.  Chapter 1 dealt with two significant areas.  The first area is that Jesus Christ is greater and better than the prophets, he’s a better way for God to speak to us.  God spoke to us in times past through the prophets, now he speaks to us through Jesus Christ. 

The second thing Chapter 1 says is that Jesus Christ is also a better measure of spiritual power and spiritual being.  The first measure that we can understand is the angels so our concept of dealing with God and the spiritual realm came through our understanding of angels in the Old Testament.  Now we understand things of the spirit through Jesus Christ.  We don’t understand anything of the spirit, anything of the spiritual world, outside of Christ.  We don’t do any transcendental meditation, no getting in touch with our better selves, no yoga and meditating on our spiritual insides – everything we do in the spirit realm now comes through Jesus Christ – not through any angel or spirit form.

Chapter 2 speaks with us and talks to us about how Christ was made a little lower than the angels but yet the angels are to worship Him.  Verse 9 and down toward the end it deals with this Christ who was above angels, was made lower than angels, to become like man so that he might reveal God to man, be the priest of man, bring man to God, and then he sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty so he who was made a little lower than the angels has now risen higher than the angels.  Back to his original position but he came that far down to get us and take us to where His father is.

Chapter 3 deals with two things as well.  No. 1 – that Christ is better than Moses and Moses is sought of like the Father of the Law – the whole religious structure, the whole religious system came through Moses; needed because people would not naturally love God so they had to be commanded to love God.  But now that Jesus Christ has come He has come and He’s greater than Moses, greater than the religious system, and the religious order.  To demonstrate this He gives us the rest – the R E S T in which God tried to give to the children of Israel but because of their unbelief they could not keep the law, come not come into that place of rest but those who believe in Jesus Christ, we come into the Sabbath rest because the Sabbath is not a day, the Sabbath is a life and you rest – eternal life – eternal rest – it is the rest or sabbath of God.  Since Jesus did the work and He is resting, if I trust Jesus then I am resting in Jesus Christ.

And then Chapter 4 speaks more about this whole issue of the rest that we have and near verse 14 it opens unto us the idea of the High Priest, the fact that Christ is our High Priest, he is the go-between between man and God, that I come to God through Christ and God comes to me through Christ, that Jesus Christ is the go-between.  I have no relationship with God outside of the blood of Jesus Christ, and God chooses to have no right relationship with me outside of the blood of Jesus Christ. 

And then we dealt in great detail with Chapter 6 and mind you Chapter 5 is a continuation of this study of the High Priest, and then in Chapter 6 we talked about don’t go back.  Strong, strong statement in Chapter 6 about rejecting your faith, confessing it one day, rejecting it on another day.  Going back from your faith and how those who go back from their faith but yet and still believe that they are saved, are those, it says “as long as they are practicing that kind of apostasy, as long as they are rejecting Christ in that way, they cannot be brought again unto repentance.

And we picked up with the surety of our salvation at the latter end of Chapter 6 when it says that when God promises that you are going to be saved, he does not lie.  When He promises that you will have eternal life He does not lie.  When He says that He will save you, He cannot lie.  Therefore our salvation is sure and steadfast because we have the promise that comes from God.  That’s why our salvation is sure and steadfast, just like an anchor for our soul.

Then of course Chapter 7 is where we have dealt with Melchisedec, who he is and the prefiguring that he brings of Jesus Christ TC "Chapter 7 is where we have dealt with Melchisedec, who he is and the prefiguring that he brings of Jesus Christ" \f C \l "1"  and how Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedec as an act of worship and not as an act of law.  When we give our tithes it should be the exact same way. 

That’s a quick review and let me stop here and ask is there anything we’ve covered in the weeks that we’ve been teaching that you need clarity on or you need me to help out a bit or answer for you.  Anything at all; whatsoever.  I’ll start with one question that I was asked by email and that question is in Chapter 6:6

 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Question Period

The question that was asked was why did it say the word “again” if these individuals were never saved to begin with? Why would it say to renew them again unto repentance.  Very good question.  There are many speculations about that particular answer as to why it would say “again” if these folks were never genuinely saved so the easiest way to circumvent that thought is to say “well they were truly saved and they lost their salvation and if you are saved and you lose your salvation, you can’t ever come back again”  But there is too much in the Bible that goes against the theology and the doctrine that you can ever lose your salvation when you are truly saved.

So you always interpret the difficult, hard to understand passages of the Bible in light of the easier clearer passages of the Bible and at the end of the day if you just have to walk away and say “I don’t understand that but I’m not going to allow Scripture that I don’t understand, for me to interpret it in a way that contradicts what I do understand”.  But this might help you out just a bit. 

For you to say they were truly saved means you interpret repenting as all that is necessary in order for one to be saved, and repentance is not all that is necessary in order for one to be saved.  You have to repent, which is to give up, to turn away from, to change your mind, but you don’t just turn away from to get saved – that’s half of it – you also have to turn to to be saved.  So repentance without commitment is not salvation – do you get that?  Repentance plus commitment to Christ is salvation.  I can repent of my sins and the things I’ve done to offend God and I can change my mind completely about them and decide I’m never going to offend God that way again (because repentance is not feeling bad about what you did), repentance is to feel bad about what you did because what you did hurt the heart of God; it is to have a God focus to it.  I can have a God-focus to my sin and turn from it and still reject Christ.

Because accepting Christ is more than accepting Him as my savior, I have to accept him as my Lord and as my Lord this is not about past sins I have done, this is about future sins I don’t even know I’m going to do.  This is about living my life for God as opposed to trying to live my life away from sin.  The scribes and the Pharisees were strong in repentance.  The whole idea of Judiasm is strong in repentance, I mean they repented over everything but they rejected the truth about Jesus Christ.  You can repent so much until you repent into humanism and believe that I can be right with God if I make myself holy and righteous and no sinning and that is humanism and believing that man can save himself.  So the word “again” poses for me no problems in understanding that these  [flipped tape over and lost something; on to next question].

The text mentions in verse 4 that they were made partakers of the Holy Ghost and then in another passage it talks about how the Holy Ghost’s job is to bring men to conviction so they may be saved.  Can you partake or can the Holy Ghost come upon you and you have no intention of being saved or you are not saved? was the question. 

Well I’ll answer your second question and then I want to correct the question in terms of the text.  The second question was “Can the Holy Ghost come upon you and you have no intentions at all of being saved?” And the answer is Absolutely.  Upon you and in you are two different things.  The Holy Ghost coming upon you -- remember in Acts 8 when Phillip went to preach to those in Samaria and when he was there a man by the name of Simon, the Bible says “heard and believed”.  He could never have believed if he had not been enlightened by the Holy Ghost, but when he saw Peter and John who came a little later laying hands on the Samaritans and they received the Holy Ghost or they received an infilling of what was upon them causing them to believe, when they received this infilling, Simon said “Oh, I want that kind of power, give me this power, how much is it going to cost”.  Immediately he reverted back to his carnal understanding of the things of the spiritual realm even though he participated in work that the Holy Spirit did on his heart bringing him toward salvation.[3]

Many people are brought towards salvation but never get there.  They are brought but when they get to the point of believing they just stop and can’t do so.  As a matter of fact Peter says to Simon, in that same passage, “I am going to pray that maybe, hopefully, you can be forgiven for what you’ve done”.  This means he was saying “Simon you may have crossed the threshold where you can’t even be forgiven for what you’ve done” which means that Simon is rejecting the truth of the Holy Spirit leading him to Christ and thinking that he has had enough experience to be saved, he just needs the money to get the power.  Does everybody understand that?  Does that help you out a little bit. 

Now I want to correct the question just a bit in terms of the text.  When it says “partakers of the Holy Ghost” the big issue is are we talking about partaking of the Holy Ghost in the sense that the Holy Ghost comes on me or in me or are we talking about partakers of the Holy Ghost in the sense that I partake in the gifts that come from the Holy Ghost.  I will give you an example:  Whenever I go home my mom and everybody in my family, I’m from the country and you’ve got to eat when you go home, and so what I do is I partake of the table, so when I sit I partake of the table, right, I partake of my mom’s food. 

That doesn’t mean that I eat the table, but I am eating some of the gifts that come from the table.  I don’t eat my mom, I eat some of the gifts that come from my mom.  So when I partake of what my mom offers, I am partaking of the gifts that come from my mother.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit are so numerous[4], there are some of them listed, of course, in the Scriptures as spiritual gifts, others of them are listed in the sense of He moves on folk in the way of forgiveness, or He moves on people in the way of enlightenment, I mean He moves on people in so many different ways, I can partake of the Spirit’s benefits and never accept the Holy Spirit to lead me to Christ. 

It’s kind of like being a leach, you know, I hook onto the Holy Ghost and I ride this train but when it’s time to accept Jesus I jump off.  I believe, and this is my personal belief because I don’t have Scripture for this, that many of the dynamic, charismatic ooh and ahh preachers today are partaking of the gift that a lot of them have not truly accepted.  So when Jesus said to these men who were prophesying in His name and casting out devils, this means that they had some action man, they had some giftings to go along with what they were doing, the devil was actually leaving them folks, you know, Jesus said “When they get to heaven and stand before me I am going to say depart from me” – now catch this “I never knew you”. 

The Spirit of God’s job is to lead me to Jesus Christ.  In doing so He does it through a myriad of ways.  For some people, they can be in an accident and the Holy Spirit miraculously saves them from death; I would say that’s a gift but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get saved because . . ., you get it?  So after God has done everything he can for this person to see the truth and they refuse to see the truth and they die, when they stand before Christ He says “I never knew you”.  You had enough evidence, enough giftings, enough prophecies, but you never came into the full knowledge of who I am.  Okay.  Does that help out? 

Any other questions?  Yes sir.  Is there any definitive meaning to the name Melchisedec?  What we do in Bible Study is a thing called “Etymological studies of names” and Melchisedec as a name etymologically means “King of Righteousness, King of Salem”, but it’s from an ancient Aramaic language and Aramaic is the birth language of Hebrew and so the Aramaic language for Melchisedec is exactly what the Scripture says.  When it’s interpreted in its Hebrew context, which is the daughter language of Aramaic, then it comes out a different way which is “Salem or Jerusalem” where he is from, and I don’t remember what king means in Hebrew, I have to find that out, but it comes from the Aramaic pretext. 

Anybody else?  Any other questions.  Are you letting me off the hook that easy tonight?  What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Lets go to the text, Matthew 12:31. 

 31Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

Now to help us understand a little bit of that we will read onto the next verse.

 32And whosoever speaketh a word [so obviously blasphemy has to do with something that I say about the Holy Spirit] against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

A couple of things I need to say first of all it doesn’t mean if I just say “The Holy Ghost is nothing”, that’s not what it means, but what it does mean is if I don’t confess that the Holy Spirit’s ministry is what the Holy Spirit’s ministry is than I can’t be saved because I need the Holy Spirit in order to be saved.  I can say anything about God and anything about Jesus, saying not just verbally but from my heart that I truly believe there is no God and the Holy Spirit still can use His voice to speak about God to me, such as the son, creation, the grass, all those things, when I look at this plant – I don’t believe there’s a God but the Holy Spirit can use this plant to say “If there is no God how did this plant come into being, where do grass and beautiful flowers come from”, that’s the Holy Spirit speaking to me.  I can say “Jesus didn’t die on the cross, I can say “I don’t believe it”, or “He died but not for me” and the Holy Spirit can take the passages of Scripture and can still minister the truth of Jesus to me and bring me to change my mind about Jesus. 

But when I say “There is nothing the Holy Ghost can do in my life, I reject Him, I will not allow Him any access to my heart” – He’s the fellow who talks to me about God or Jesus which is what I need to be saved – as long as I am resisting and rejecting Him I cannot be saved.  Now the whole issue about “shall not be forgiven”, this “shall not be forgiven” is in a Greek tense which is a funny one.  In the English it was not the easiest translation; the Greek tense or the original language the Bible was written in, the tense for that means “as long as I am doing it I cannot be forgiven for it”.  So the moment that I stop and say “You know I am going to open my heart and see what the Spirit wants to say to me”, the moment I stop doing it He then can come in and save me.  But as long as I am doing it that’s a sin, it can’t be reversed because to reverse it I have to change my mind.

The whole idea in the plan of salvation is I can stop myself from getting saved if such a thing is possible.  I can stop myself from getting saved by rejecting the Holy Ghost.  Not by rejecting God or Jesus but the Holy Ghost who is the person who tells me about God and Jesus.  Does that help any?  It’s very hard and after answering that it may not clear it up for you 100% but continue to study.  Does anybody know why I prefaced that “if it be possible” because we believe that salvation is not the choice of man, it’s the choice of God and if you are going to be saved God has already chosen that and He will chase your behind down until you do.  He will drag you kicking and screaming.

. . .

In the old fundamental Pentecostal faith and in many of current Pentecostal faiths they do a thing called “tarrying for the Holy Ghost.  If you’ve never done it or seen it, at least see it at some point in your life.  It is a very life-changing experience.  What happens is you come down to the mourner’s bench and you are going to stay down there until you get saved, and whatever they got to do to get you saved, you are going to stay right there until you get saved, and normally they have you say a few Jesus mantras.  In my experience it was Jesus over and over again.  So we had to say “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, . . . – and it started out intelligent – FASTER!  JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, JESUS – HARDER – JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, JESUS and you are saying it so much until (in some churches) there is foaming at the mouth that takes place and I am just being honest with you – am I right Sis, is that not true. 

It is a purging process and I guess the foam is supposed to be purging out your sins – is what I’ve been told from my experience, I don’t know about anyone else’s and after a period of time you have to do something to prove that you have gotten saved or got the Holy Ghost and for many people that is two different things.  I could go on and on and have fun with it, BUT IN TRUTH IT IS NOT BIBLICAL.  IT IS NOT BIBLICAL AT ALL.  When you receive the Holy Ghost you receive the Holy Ghost to come live inside of you the moment that you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Now the infilling of the Holy Spirit, Him infilling you, that happens then, and next week, and next week, you don’t tarry for it, you pray for it.  And when the infilling comes it doesn’t come after repeating some words several times.  It doesn’t come after being shut-in or locked in.  The Bible tells us exactly how to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  It is very clear that we are speaking to ourselves in psalms and hymns and in spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts unto the Lord, giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord; that’s how we are filled with the Spirit.  It is an act of worship to God.  The initial indwelling of the Holy Ghost comes the moment I get saved and give my life to Christ. 

Now many people use Acts 2 as the proof text for this tarrying issue where Jesus told his disciples to go and wait and tarry in Jerusalem until they be endowed with power from on high.  You need to understand that he said very clearly “If I don’t go away the comforter cannot come”, remember that text.  So He says in order for me to have my Spirit in you I have to be released from the earth because while I’m here on the earth I have the Holy Spirit without measure, the Bible says, which means all the fullness of the Godhead was in Jesus Christ.  He was walking around with the fullness of the Godhead in Him.  He had all of it in Him.  He says “When I leave I will go back to the Father in my glorified state and when I’m there I will send to you the presence of the Holy Spirit”.  He said tarry until you see me taken away.

Well that’s what happened.  When he was lifted up, he was taken away, they were there tarrying and now catch this, He waited until a particular day when there would be people from every nation on the known earth in Jerusalem, the Day of Pentecost.  There’s no magic about it.  There’s nothing mystical about it; it was just the fact that He wanted every nation to hear of Him.  On that day the Spirit of God filled them with power; they received cloven tongues resting on their head (not so they could speak in an unknown tongue) – it wasn’t an unknown tongue which is what normally happens in a lot of those circles today, these were known tongues. 

French, it wasn’t French but I’m just giving an example – French, German – known languages right because those individuals were in Jerusalem.  If they were not in Jerusalem they would not have needed those known languages.  His desire was to spread the gospel and He did it without an interpreter.  The Spirit of God used them in that fashion and in that capacity.  Now what happens in today’s society when we speak in tongues those are not known languages.  Those are unknown languages and the Bible is very clear about how to handle those in 1 Corinthians 14.  It is so clear you got to be in rebellion not to understand it. 

For people who say that the Holy Ghost is going to fall today the same way He fell in Acts 2, they tarried in Acts 2 they tarry today.  They spoke in tongues in Acts 2 you are going to speak in tongues today.  If you’ve got the Holy Ghost the evidence is the same way, then I say don’t pick and choose.  You make it the same way.  I need 50 days of tarrying because that’s what they did, same way and I need to see a fiery tongue fall on your head just like they did, same way, and you need to speak in a known language (don’t give me nothing that I don’t know if you made it up, that sounds like what they sound like – everybody sounds too much alike here).  I need a known language the same way and I got to have some proof it’s a known language because all I speak is English. 

I’m trying to witness so I’m going to bring a Chinese brother to church and I mean it has to be done the same way and if that’s not what happens in those experiences then I have to say that you can’t build a doctrine by picking and choosing what part you want to obey and what parts you don’t want to obey.  If you say same, I want it to be the same. 

There is a lot more I can say about that but my time won’t allow me to.  Give God the glory, that is our lesson tonight.


 

[1] An`gel`oph´a`ny. n. 1. The actual appearance of an angel to man. angelophany. the appearance to men, in visible form, of angels.

[2] Hebrews 13:2:  Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

[3]  Acts 8:5-25 

[4] 1 Corinthians 12.

 



 

 

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