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  • Writer's pictureWayne Shelton

The Book of Hebrews - Firm to the End


Hebrews 4:1-13


In our passage this week, we are given an image of the Word of the Lord as a sword (4:12). What this image describes is the penetrating or piercing power of God’s Word. Philip Hughes remarks that the writer “describes in graphic terms the penetration of God’s word to the innermost depth of man’s personality.” That is, the Word penetrates against all opposition so as to grip the whole man and not just any one aspect of his person. In his commentary on the book of Hebrews, Richard Phillips recounts briefly the life of John Newton, a man who was penetrated and captured by the Word of God.


“Raised in a Christian home in the mid-eighteenth century, he left home and joined the British navy. There he entered deeply into the ways of sin, and eventually he deserted to live in Africa. He chose that place because there his lusts could have the most opportunity for satisfaction. In the years that followed he became a slave trader, but was also abused by those who gained power over him and was even kept in chains. Physically wrecked, he escaped toward the sea and found his way aboard a British merchant vessel. Due to his knowledge of navigation he became a ship’s mate. However, when the captain showed trust in him, he broke into the ship’s supply of rum and became drunk – so drunk that when the captain returned and struck him on the head he fell overboard. If one of the crew had not rescued him, he would have drowned.


“As the ship was nearing Scotland on the way home, it ran into a storm and was blown off course. For days the storm blew and water came into the floundering vessel. Newton spent countless hours down in the hold working the pumps, in desperate fear for his life. There his mind turned to Bible verses his mother had taught him before she died when he was six years old. The Word of God came alive within him, convicted his thoughts and attitudes, and brought him to repentance, and he cast himself on Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation.


“The ship ultimately did make it safely to port, and Newton entered into the study of theology and became a notable Puritan minister. We know him best for his hymns, especially ‘Amazing Grace.’” (Richard Phillips, REC, Hebrews, pp139-40)


Amazing grace! – how sweet the sound –

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see. (1779)


That is what God does through his Word. It gets inside us and exposes us rendering us helpless before him that we might turn to him in repentance and find the rest that he has promised.


I hope you can join us this week as we look at the invitation in the book of Hebrews to join God in his ‘rest’ – you don’t want to miss it. This would be a great Lord’s Day to invite someone to come along with you to hear of God’s promise and warning.

 

For His Glory,


Pastor Wayne

 

This week we want to give away a copy of Alec Motyer’s book, Covenant Foundations: Understanding the Promise-Keeping God of the Bible. In this book, “readers are granted a greater vision of the salvation masterplan brought to glorious fulfilment by the promise-making, promise-keeping God.” The person who texts or calls with their favorite Bible verse will receive a free copy of this book.

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