4/15/18 Study Questions
Part 13: Jesus is Greater Than the Temple Worship and Sacrifices
Read Hebrews 9:1-28
1. Discuss the role of our conscience and how it relates to the Spirit and guilt. What does the Bible say about it? What is its purpose?
2. Read Hebrews 8:8-13 What do you think it would have been like living with the sacrifices as a constant reminder of your sin?
a) If Christ's death did away with the old order of things including the sacrifices and all the rituals and regulations of worship, what are the implications for us and how God sees us?
b) How should we see ourselves now, if we live by absolute faith in what Jesus says He's done?
a) How is our motivation for service under the new covenant different to that under the old covenant?
b) Honestly evaluate your own willingness to serve, and your motivation for service. What needs adjusting so you can orient your life around gratitude as a response to what God has done?
4. The Tabernacle (and later the Temple) was a mechanism built into the lives of the Jews, designed to keep God central to their lives. What routines and activities do you have to intentionally orient your life around God?
5. Read Galatians 5:1. Think about the sin and shortcomings you still feel guilty for. They are no longer on your record with God. Share some of them with your group as a declaration of your freedom and a step towards living as God actually sees you, and pray for each other.
4/08/18 Study Questions
Part 12: Jesus is Greater Than the Old Covenant
Read Hebrews 8:1-13
a) Why did the Old Covenant even exist? If it wasn't able to save people, why did God bother making it with Israel?
2. Like the Old Covenant the New Covenant was originally made with Israel, so what is the biblical basis for Gentile (non-Jewish) believers in Jesus like us to claim it too? (see Hebrews 8:10; Jeremiah 31:31-33; Matthew 26:27-28, 27:50-51; Ephesians 2:11-13)
4. Read Ezekiel 36:26-27 and Joel 2:28-29. Share your experience of the internal heart change that the Spirit of God brings to those who put their faith in Jesus. What difference does it make to you following Jesus?
6. Read Hebrews 8:11. Do you take advantage of your privileged position as a child of God and speak/listen to God regularly? Why/why not?
8. The congregation shared the various characteristics you'd expect to see in the life of someone who is living in this covenant relationship with God: joyful, hopeful, peaceful, zealous, passionate, loving, patient, faithful, gracious, humble, generous, grateful, thankful, understanding, disciplined etc. Are these characteristics typical of you? Why/why not?
a) The man in the video was content to unnecessarily remain in kindergarten because it was easy and comfortable. What are the reasons you're tempted to unnecessarily remain in spiritual kindergarten and not fully embrace your freedom in Christ?
9. A poem was read that contained the line: I must believe strongly, Lord, that I can't question this: that you are at home with sinners. What difference does it make to know that a holy righteous God can live happily with you?
4/01/18 Study Questions
Part 11: Jesus is Greater Than Death
Read Hebrews 7:23-28
1. Why do we even need a priest, someone to mediate between us and God?
a) What are the positives and negatives of the leadership and ministry of human priests?
b) How does Jesus mediate between us and God?
c) What makes it possible for Jesus to always be able to save those who come to God through faith in Him?
3. Read Hebrews 7:24. How does the permanence of Jesus' priesthood make a difference to us?
5. Read Hebrews 7:26. How do these character qualities separate Jesus from human priests? - give practical examples of how those differences are experienced.
a) How should these character qualities of Jesus affect our confidence in our salvation?
b) How has God the Father exalted or endorsed Jesus, and what difference does this make?
6. What difference does knowing that Jesus is constantly interceding in Heaven for you make to the way you live your life?
a) What could you do to help you live with more awareness of Jesus' constant intercession in your daily life?
3/25/18 Study Questions
Part 10: Jesus is a Perfect Priest
1. Why do some people believe Melchizedek was an appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament?
2. How did Melchizedek 'resemble' Jesus?
3. Read Hebrews 7:1-10, 11-28. Why does Jesus' priesthood supersede the Levitical priesthood?
4. Think about the practical consequences of having a priest (an intercessor or mediator) who has an 'indestructible life' (7:16). Why is that important in our daily experience?
a) What's the unavoidable implication of 1 Timothy 2:5 for all human priests, ministers, pastors and church leaders today?
6. See Matthew 1:3, 5. How is knowing that Jesus came from the family line of Judah an encouragement to us today?
7. Hebrews 7:18 speaks about a 'better hope'. What can Jesus' eternal priesthood give you hope about in the circumstances you're in right now?
8. Think about how you try and remedy problems or try and please God by doing things or trying harder. Hebrews describes The Law and this kind of effort as 'useless'.
a) What would living by faith in Jesus look like for you this week?
b) What particular natural inclination do you have that leads you away from, that you need to let go of?
c) What can you do this week to take steps towards God on the 'teeter-totter' of your life, and shift the momentum of your life towards growing in your relationship with God?
3/18/18 Study Questions
Part 9: Why Wouldn't We Grow in Our Faith?
Read Hebrews 5:11-6:3
1. Not growing in your faith is dangerous because your immaturity means you will not recognize false teachings and beliefs and will be easily discouraged. What are some examples of the false teachings and beliefs that immature believers fall for?
2. The only answer to immaturity is to grow in your faith.
a) "You can learn in the classroom but you can't grow in the classroom". What does this mean and how does it apply to Christians?
b) God's plan for King David involved a pathway of intentional growth (the bear, the lion, Goliath). Like weight training we only grow if we increase the resistance or effort and go into areas of increasing discomfort where we have to rely on God. If we don't believe/trust God and reject these uncomfortable opportunities to grow, we plateau in our faith. What can you do to 'add weight' to your growth and encourage your own maturity in your faith?
c) The writer referred to how the athletes in the games trained naked to ensure maximum performance. What things are stopping you from maximum performance as a Christ-follower, and need to be stripped away or let go of to help you grow in your faith?
3. Growth is a choice. How do you keep yourself from becoming lazy in your faith? Give personal examples.
4. Consider the fruit or productivity of your life. What type of land is your life most like? Why?
5. What can you do to make sure that you are growing in your faith and that your life is productive and receives the blessing of God? And where does your relationship with Jesus fit into this?
3/11/18 Study Questions
Part 8: Jesus is Greater Than the Priests
Read Hebrews 4:14-5:10
1. Why does Hebrews talk about Priests (think about what you already know about the recipients of the letter)?
2. Even though you're a Christian, what can self-effort and 'righteousness by works' sometime look like in your life?
3. We don't have priests as intermediaries anymore, yet we sometimes look to others to help us instead of Jesus. Why do we do this?
a) How can we change our behavior in this regard?
4. Think about the comparison between Jesus and the Old Testament High Priests. What would you say to a Catholic friend who asked why we don't have - or believe in - priests?
5. Discuss the implications of Jesus being a High Priest who has ascended into Heaven.
6. Rate your confidence level in approaching God, from 1 (non-existent) to 10 (no hesitation). Now rate your consistency in going to God, from 1 (never) to 10 (I'm in constant conversation).
a) What is it that stops those scores from being a 10 for you?
b) What verse/truth in this passage could help you with your unbelief?
3/04/18 Study Questions
Part 7: Why Wouldn't We Believe God?
Read Hebrews 3:7-13
1. What's the difference between 'believing in' someone and 'believing' them?
2. Think of an instance when you've been reluctant to obey someone you liked and believed in because you didn't trust them. How did it affect your relationship?
3. Why is it sometimes hard to persevere in our belief - our faith in Jesus?
a) What area of your life do you find it hard to believe/trust God in?
b) What could you do to strengthen your faith in this area?
4. Read Hebrews 3:12. What are you doing practically to take personal responsibility for your faith?
a) Think about your life and schedule and evaluate what is helping you grow in faith and what is hindering your growth. What changes do you need to make to prioritize your spiritual growth?
5. Read Hebrews 3:13. What are some of the ways we could encourage each other daily?
a) How could you encourage someone this week? Make yourself accountable to do it.
6. Read Hebrews 4:8-11. What's the difference between 'God's rest' and the 'Sabbath-rest' to come?
7. Read Hebrews 4:12. The phrase 'word of God' is Greek phrase referring to the actively reasoning mind of God that discerns our motives. How does this relate to us entering God's rest (vv10-13)?
a) If that makes us nervous or afraid we've missed the point. How does a confidence in God change our response?
b) If everything in our heart was 'laid bare' right now, what would be exposed? Be vulnerable with each other and choose one thing that you try to hide from others, and share it with the group, sharing why you try and hide it.
8. What is God saying to you right now that you need to believe and trust Him in? Share and keep each other accountable next time you meet.
2/25/18 Study Questions
Part 6: Jesus is Greater Than Moses
Read Hebrews 3:1-6
1. This letter is written to people who have confessed their faith in Jesus as being the one sent by God (our apostle) and able to save them (our high priest). To what degree do you actually live out (confess) your faith in Jesus, as opposed to just having a private, so-called, "personal faith"?
2. How does Jesus' faithfulness to Himself influence His faithfulness to us?
a) How might this make a difference to your confidence in God's faithfulness when you sin or doubt your faith?
a) Jesus said, "I will build my church". How is Jesus building the church? How are we being built into a 'spiritual building'? What is God actually doing among us to achieve this?
b) What is our part in this 'construction process'? What can we do to help the process?
a) What does the possessiveness of Jesus' statement: "I will build my church" tell us about His attitude towards the church, and therefore towards you?
b) How does Jesus' attitude towards the church affect your attitude towards the church?
5. Read Hebrews 3:6. The word translated 'if' is actually a word of confidence in the original language, used when a speaker is confident that what they're talking about will definitely happen. How confident are you in Jesus, in your faith in God?
a) What could you do to hold more firmly to your faith and hope in Jesus?
2/18/18 Study Questions
Part 5: Jesus is Greater Than the Angels Because of His Humanity
1. Read Hebrews 2:14,15,17. Why did Jesus became human—flesh and blood?
2. The Christian life isn’t just “pie in the sky when you die”, so to what extent should we experience the abundant life now?
a) What exactly does ‘experiencing the abundant life' mean (see John 10:10)?
3. How, practically, can we keep our focus on our eternal destiny in the midst of life’s problems?
4. Sometimes Psalm 8 is used to teach the unbiblical concept of “self-esteem.” Was David’s response to these truths to glorify himself or God? Is it proper to have a sense of significance because we’ve been created in God’s image? Why/why not?
5. Read Hebrews 2:10. In what sense was Jesus ‘perfected’?
a) Once we’ve identified areas of personal temptation, we can feel alone or embarrassed to share our weaknesses. Yet, the Bible encourages us to “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16). God says that sharing our weaknesses with other believers is part of our growth process. Which of these temptations do you tend to struggle with?
b) Take time to share and encourage one another with the temptations you are currently facing.
2/11/18 Study Questions
Part 4: Why Would We Ignore God?
1. The illustration was given of people regressing and going back to lesser things they’d grown out of (crawling etc).
a) How does this relate to the big picture of the letter to the Hebrews?
b) Try and describe what the letter to the Hebrews is about in a single sentence.
Read Hebrews 2:1-4
2. How does knowing this letter was written to believers affect how you interpret these verses—especially verse 3?
3. What theological truth do these verses teach us about eternal life?
a) How does this truth change your love and appreciation of Jesus?
b) How does this truth affect your motivation to obey and serve God?
4. What’s the difference between serving God out of love versus duty?
5. Examine your own motivation. What motivates you as a follower of Jesus—and why? Do you need to adjust your thinking?
6. It was suggested that we sometimes have more confidence in our own sinful nature, or in Satan’s ability to deceive, than in God’s power and grace.
a) Have you ever experienced this? If so, how and why?
b) What are some of the outcomes or consequences of being more confident of our own weakness than in God’s grace and power to save?
Read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
7. A consequence of ignoring our salvation is loss of our future reward.
a) What causes us to slip into performance mode where we only serve God to get rewarded?
b) What is the remedy to regressing back to this ‘works based’ mentality (Hebrews 2:1)?
8. How can we pay attention to Jesus as the author of our salvation and the one who loved us saved us?
2/4/18 Study Questions
Part 3: Jesus is Greater Than the Angels Because of His Divinity
1. The thought that some first century Jews worshipped angels can seem a bit strange to believers today because we’re very aware that Jesus is so much greater than the angels. But today Christians and non-Christians are still fascinated by the supernatural.
a) How can a fascination with the spiritual realm sometimes lead to a false understanding of angels—and therefore a false understanding of ourselves as Christians? Give an example.
Read Hebrews 1:4-14
2. The author’s main point in these verses is that Jesus is divine and therefore vastly superior to the angels. What proofs does the author use to show that Jesus is superior to the angels?
a) Some would say that the word ‘firstborn’ in verse 6 means that Jesus isn’t eternal but was created. How would you answer this? What verses from the Bible would you use to refute that claim?
3. How do these verses point to Jesus being divine (God) as opposed to being an angel who became a Son of God—or any other option?
a) What difference does it make if Jesus is just an angel, or is truly God?
b) Why is it so essential and important to our Christian faith to affirm the full and complete deity of Jesus Christ?
4. Hebrews 1:13-14 talks about a future salvation that followers of Jesus will inherit. The illustration was given of a drowning person being saved by a life preserver, but then being saved again when they are pulled onto the boat. The preserver represents the salvation of faith in Jesus, and being pulled back into the boat represents the coming salvation when Jesus comes back to take his own out the world.
a) Are you confident of the power of God through Jesus Christ to completely save you already? Why/why not?
b) What does it mean to ‘inherit’ salvation’?
c) How can we live in the hope of ‘inheriting’ the coming salvation?
5. What difference does it make to our daily life here and now if we truly recognize and live by the fact that Jesus is God, supreme and over all things, and has already won the victory over sin and death?
a) What is the visible evidence of God’s divine power in your life through Jesus?
Read 1 Peter 5:8-9
6. What is Peter’s main point in these verses (what’s he hoping we will do)?
a) How can you resist Satan?
b) What faulty beliefs do you have that make you an easy target for Satan?
c) What verses could you memorize to rehearse the truth about the spiritual battle?
d) Going back to the illustration of saved people still being in life preservers safely bobbing in the water, is your fear of the ocean (the troubles and threats of the world) greater than your confidence in the preserver (Jesus) and His ability to one day pull you into the boat (take you to Heaven? Why/why not?
1/28/18 Study Questions
Part 2: Jesus is Greater Than the Prophets
1. Communication is a fundamental aspect of our culture and society. What are some of the specific strengths and weaknesses of the various forms of communication available to us today, e.g. phone calls, written notes, FaceBook, email, texting, tweeting etc?
2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of prophets speaking on behalf of God?
3. What are some of the creatively different ways that God has historically spoken through prophets (e.g. Ezekiel 4:1-6, Hosea 1:2)?
a) What do we learn about God from how he deliberately ‘spoke in various ways’ through the prophets?
Read Hebrews 1:2-3
4. The writer of the letter lists seven facts about Jesus that prove He is greater than the prophets.
a)What do each of these facts reveal to us about Jesus?
b)How do these facts about Jesus separate Him from the prophets?
Read Luke 9:28-33
5. In his excitement Peter forgot the difference between Jesus and the two prophets. How can we sometimes forget the difference between Jesus and the many voices in our lives that speak on behalf of God?
6. What are the ‘voices’ in your life that you let speak to you on behalf of God?
7. John called Jesus ‘the Word’ and ‘the Word of life’? (Word = Gk: Logos) What does this name mean?
8. The prophets gave indirect, impersonal communication from God but Jesus gave direct, personal communication with God. How are you able to hear or listen to the Word of God as a result of Jesus?
9. What can you do to ensure that you ‘listen’ to Jesus regularly and receive the full and complete revelation Jesus offers?
1/21/18 Study Questions
Part 1: Introduction to the Letter to the Hebrews
Overview of Hebrews:
- Purpose: exhort Jewish believers to stay with Jesus and not return to Judaism even though they were discouraged by constant persecution and beginning to doubt their faith in Jesus.
- Jesus trumps the prophets, the angels, and Moses because of who he is. (Hebrews 1:1-4:13)
- Jesus trumps the priests, the old Covenant and the temple sacrifices because of what he has done. (Hebrews 4:14-10:18)
- Jesus trumps Judaism and all religions/philosophies because a) Faith in Jesus gives us the confidence we need to live life! (Hebrews 10:19-11:40), b) Faith in Jesus gives us the power we need to live life! (Hebrews 12:1-29), c) Faith in Jesus gives us love we need to live life! (Hebrews 13:1-25)
1. Persecution caused the Jews to get discouraged and starting doubting their faith in Jesus.
a) Do you ever get discouraged in your faith and start questioning/doubting it? If so, why—what are the things that cause you to get discouraged and start doubting?
b) The discouraged Jews turned to the familiarity and comfort of Judaism. When you get discouraged and doubt, what familiar comfortable substitute/crutch do you turn to and put your faith in? Why?
2. Read Hebrews 1:1-4 and Hebrews 3:1-6. The writer says Jesus is greater than the prophets and the angels and Moses because of who He was. Why was Jesus’ so much greater than the prophets, angels and Moses—what does the text tell us specifically?
3. Read Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 8:1-13 and Hebrews 9:1-28. The writer says Jesus is greater than the priests, the old covenant and the temple sacrifices because of what he’d done. What had Jesus specifically done that was greater than the priests, the old covenant and the temple sacrifices?
4. How do these facts/truths about Jesus help strengthen your faith—what practical difference do they make to you today as a follower of Jesus?
5. The writer appealed to the Jews 5 times, warning them not to give up and fall away:
Appeal #1: the danger of ignoring God 2:1-4
Appeal #2: the danger of not believing God 3:7-4:
Appeal #3: the danger of not growing in Faith 5:11-6:20
Appeal #4: danger of quitting on God (backsliding/cruising) 10:26-39
Appeal #5: danger of saying no to God 12:25-29
What do Christians do (or not do) that causes us to run the risk of doing these things—and what we can do practically to ensure we avoid them?
6. Which of the appeals/warnings is most relevant to you—which do you tend to do?
a) Revisit your answers to questions 2 and 3. Which of the facts/truths about Jesus in this letter to the Hebrews helps you with that appeal/warning most, when you’re discouraged and have doubts? Share with the group and pray for each other.