The Biblearc Blog

Encouragements and Updates from Biblearc

Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Surprising Servant of God

Learning Resources Take-Away for the week of June 29th, 2015:

Do you thank God for, and give appropriate honor to, your governing officials? If you are like me you recoil slightly at the idea, as you think of the not-so-short list of grievances you have against them. And yet, God commands us to do just this. Why?…

“‘…for the authorities are ministers of God…'”

 

What is the Learning Resources Take-Away?
Every Monday we will upload a new video with the main point take-away message from that week’s Learning Resources.

What are “Learning Resources?”
Learning Resources is an add-on to the Biblearc Subscription. This add-on provides practical helps for those seeking to learn the Bible study methods available on Biblearc. Subscribers will receive a fresh, ten-minute Arcing, Bracketing, Phrasing or Diagramming example video each week. In addition, the Learning Resources add-on gives you access to all the example videos archives, and personal feedback on one of your modules each month.

Take Care Brothers and Sisters. (Hebrews 3:7-15, Part 4)

The letter to the Hebrews was written to people who had believed the gospel (3:1). 

They now needed to persevere, to remain confident in Christ (3:6, 14). In this context the experience of Israel in the wilderness is held up as a sobering case study: many who saw God’s powerful works subsequently hardened their hearts.

The author gives two instructions, as inferences from the need to persevere with confidence. Firstly, ‘do not harden your hearts’ (v7, 15b). This is an instruction for which we must each, in the first instance, take individual responsibility. That is, we who have come to trust in Christ are responsible as individuals for the state of our own hearts: I must not harden my own heart, and to this end I must know and remind myself of God’s ways (3:10c), and of what he has done ultimately in Christ. Recall that God has spoken (1:1) through his Son (1:2), who became a man and suffered for me. Is my heart, I might ask, still gripped by the great salvation (2:3) won by him who is risen and at God’s right hand (1:3), and will soon have his enemies under his feet (1:13)?

We are to exhort (summon, entreat, admonish, comfort) one another to trust that what God has said is true, so as not to be led astray by the deceptive promises of sin.

 
Additionally we each have a corporate responsibility. We are to take care in a corporate sense, amongst our brothers and sisters, in order that the unbelief that undermined the Israelite’s salvation from slavery doesn’t undermine ours. We are to exhort (summon, entreat, admonish, comfort) one another to trust that what God has said is true, so as not to be led astray by the deceptive promises of sin.

God has brought us into communion and fellowship with him. This is a current reality for those who hold fast to hope in Christ. Therefore each of us should remind ourselves of the truth, and the overflow of that should be the exhortation of one another, to move on from the deceit of sin, and trust in God to the end.

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Go back to Part 3 of this series…

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Robert Elphick

Yes, Lord.

Learning Resources Take-Away for the week of June 22nd, 2015:

What does it mean to come to God in full knowledge of your unworthiness, but also full knowledge of His grace?

“‘…it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ But she answered him, ‘Yes, Lord; yet…'”

 

What is the Learning Resources Take-Away?
Every Monday we will upload a new video with the main point take-away message from that week’s Learning Resources.

What are “Learning Resources?”
Learning Resources is an add-on to the Biblearc Subscription. This add-on provides practical helps for those seeking to learn the Bible study methods available on Biblearc. Subscribers will receive a fresh, ten-minute Arcing, Bracketing, Phrasing or Diagramming example video each week. In addition, the Learning Resources add-on gives you access to all the example videos archives, and personal feedback on one of your modules each month.

Epaphroditus Fund

Epaphroditus Fund

As we move toward the completion of our third round of Introducción al Arcing (Introduction to Arcing course in Spanish), we are preparing the very first Advanced course for Spanish-speaking students. We have called this course El Flujo de Pensamiento de las Oraciones de la Biblia (The Flow of Thought of Biblical Prayers), and aim to not only teach the students how to advance their Arcing skills, but also challenge them into a life of prayer according to principles of Scripture.

Paul was well supplied as the result of the fragrant offering given by the Philippians through Epaphroditus. In order to release this course, we need joyful Philippian-like givers who are willing to supply well those in need of biblical training for their personal study, families and ministries.

We are looking for joyful Philippian-like givers who are willing to supply well those in need of biblical training.

We are hoping to have 25+ students, primarily from Latin America. While some students have the means to pay for the course, most do not as they live outside the Western world, in countries were finances are tight. Thus, to give all interested students the opportunity to participate we need to raise at least $1,250. This would provide 15 full scholarships and 5 partial scholarships, besides the $25 already subsidized from the enrollment fee.

Would you help us expand our Biblearc Global Initiative through the Epaphroditus Fund?

Give now (Check “Give a Scholarship”)

Update: Praise the Lord, $1400 has been given, which goes beyond our goal! We will joyfully put the extra toward further equipping Spanish-speakers theologically.

Prepare Your Heart; Know His Ways. (Hebrews 3:7-19, Part 3)

As Israel left Egypt, God showed his mighty saving power. He was for them, and could save them. The people needed to trust him and obey. As the sea crashed in over Pharaoh’s army, they saw his power again. Those who “left Egypt led by Moses” had seen mighty things (3:16b).

God’s expectation was that the Israelites, having observed these things, should use their mental faculties to reflect and wonder and therefore in the future be able to trust God. But it seems they didn’t, at least not to any depth. Instead we hear the commentary: “they always go astray in their hearts, they have not known my ways.” 

Despite having seen God’s gracious saving power, “they [did] not known [His] ways.”

When times got tough, instead of having hearts prepared through sober reflection to understand and trust, they had hearts primed to question and doubt and disobey. Why? Because despite having seen God’s gracious saving power, “they have not known my ways.”

Their experience is held up for us as an example. “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion …”. We too will experience difficulty and pain. When we do, we will need to trust him. We need to “know his ways.”

This is massively, eternally, important. The Israelite’s complacency cost them dearly. “… they have not known my ways. As I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter my rest.” (3:10c-11) We are to take responsibility for the state of our hearts and minds (3:12). God expected it from them and held them accountable, and so he does with us. 

If you are complacent about the state of your heart, be earnestly warned: complacency did not end well for Israel.

This does not mean perfection or self-sufficiency. No, we deeply need God’s daily mercy and help (4:15-16), and we need the mutual encouragement of brothers and sisters (3:12-13). But it does demand our attention and care, which may feel unusual in our culture so inclined towards comfort and entertainment. Consider also: Prov 1:20-33; 2 Tim 2:7.

If you are complacent about the state of your heart, be earnestly warned: complacency did not end well for Israel (2:2, 3:11).

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Go back to part 2 of this series…

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Robert Elphick

Our Heritage and Hope. (Hebrews 3:1-6, Part 2)

Last month my high school classmates came together to mark the 25th year since our high school graduation. How time has flown! Unfortunately, living on the other side of the globe, I couldn’t make it. Such reunions are obviously an opportunity to catch up with friends with whom we have shared formative years, but I wonder if for some there is also an attraction in being part of something bigger than oneself, such as a school with an honored tradition.

Is the author of Hebrews telling his recipients, a small and persecuted gathering (10:32-33), that they are part of an honoured tradition? Not of some prestigious Roman academy, but of something infinitely greater: they are, by grace, part of God’s household.

Membership in this house is tied to ongoing urgent dependance on and boasting in Christ, who is our hope.

The household into which they have been called is not something new. It has members from as far back as Moses–that same esteemed Moses who faithfully led God’s people in the wilderness (2b). It is by grace that they are a part, but there is a condition: that we hold fast our confidence and boasting in our hope (v6). Membership in this house is tied to ongoing urgent dependance on and boasting in Christ, who is our hope.

God is calling his people to himself through the completed work of his Son. His people endure in hope, holding fast in a concrete knowledge of the Son. They are confident in him; he is their sufficient redeemer and merciful sustainer (2:16-17), such that they boast in him.

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Go back to part 1 of this series…

Go back to Part 1 of this series…

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Robert Elphick

Heaven Bound; Consider Jesus. (Hebrews 3:1-6)

A magnificent picture of a future hope: This is what the author of Hebrews paints for his readers in the first two chapters of the book. At the very start of chapter three the author briefly summarizes this hope, as a platform for the exhortation to ponder Jesus.

The believing recipients, the author says, are holy–set apart and sacred to God. Jesus has provided purification for their sins (1:3) and sanctified those God has called (2:11). Being thus set apart to God, they are also brothers with one another (3:1), and with Jesus (2:11).

They have also been called to heaven. The author later points out that this awesome truth has in the past been the foundation for otherwise senseless sacrifice (e.g. 10:34, 11:16). They are called to God in his glory (2:10), where Christ is now seated (1:3, 13), and to a future reign on Christ’s behalf (2:5, 8). The grandeur of this calling caused the writer to pause with David in wonder (2:6-8). “… what is man that you are mindful of him”.

Don’t do it alone; do it as brothers and sisters in God’s family.

These wonderful truths provide the basis for the exhortation that we see in verse 1 of chapter three: ‘therefore … consider Jesus’. We are especially to observe Jesus’ faithfulness, even to death (2:14-18), in fulfilling the task to which God appointed him (that we may likewise be faithful to our calling). The exhortation is not given to them as a burden. You have been set apart – consider the king who called you, consider his faithfulness–and then do likewise!

But don’t do it alone; do it as brothers and sisters in God’s family. Remember that the exhortations here and also later to come (e.g. 2:12-13) are to be received and obeyed as a family: brothers and sisters in Christ. You are set apart together to obey.

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Continue to Part 2 of this series…

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Robert Elphick