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A Biblical Theology of Counseling

According to Hebrews

(Ideas developed as a result of Moody Graduate School coursework

taught by Dr. B. Wayne Hopkins & Professor Harry Shields,

SK3501, April 1997)


Introduction:  The Goal of Counseling

The goal of counseling is not to become happy, but to become mature in Christ out of which happiness flows as a byproduct rather than a goal. 

The renewing of the mind is a long and arduous process but we must make it our ambition to please him at all times. 

We have a two-fold function of worship toward God and service toward others. 

We should seek to free both ourselves and others to do this. 

We should desire to solve our personal problems in order to enter a deeper relationship with God. 

In a word, we must desire Christian maturity which is Christlikeness. 

This maturity involves immediate obedience in specific situations and long range character growth. 

It all begins with the Christian experience of justification in which God declares that I am acceptable to him in Christ. 

There is much practical application to this because many of us are all to motivated toward approval from others to become acceptable. 

Christian counseling is concerned with whether of not we are responding obediently to whatever circumstance we are experiencing. 

And Christ is our resource for doing this. 

We must first move over to God’s program and then move up within it. 

In so doing, not only behavior changes but attitudes as well.

Hebrews as a counseling manual.

     A. The worthwhile position of mankind, the subject of counseling.

Heb 2:6  But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

Heb 2:7  You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor

Heb 2:8  and put everything under his feet." In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.

     B. The deliverance of counseling.

Heb 2:15  and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

     C. The qualifications of the Counselor (Is. 9:6).

Heb 2:18  Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

     D. The workload, watchfulness (Jude 1:22-23;Gal. 6:1), and the tool of the counselor.

Heb 4:10  for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.

Heb 4:11 ¶ Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

     E. The attitude of counseling.

Heb 4:16  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

     F.  The care of counseling.

Heb 5:2  He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.

     G. The long-term goal of counseling.

Heb 5:14  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

     H. The exhortation of counseling (long term obedience in the same dir.)

Heb 6:1 ¶ Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,

     I.   The enlightenment of counseling.

Heb 6:11  We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.

     J.  The hope of counseling in the healing presence of God.

Heb 6:18  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.

Heb 6:19  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,

     K. The qualities of the Counselor as a mediator.

Heb 7:11 ¶ If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come-- one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?

     L.  The qualities of the Counselor as eternally righteous.

Heb 7:16  one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.

     M. The qualities of the Counselor as a complete healer.

Heb 7:25  Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Heb 7:26  Such a high priest meets our need-- one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

     N. The importance of the conscience in healing.

Heb 9:9  This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.

     O. The provision for cleansing the conscience.

Heb 9:14  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

     P.  The provision for permanent healing.

Heb 9:26  Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Heb 9:27  Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,

Heb 9:28  so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

     Q. The futility of our own efforts at cleansing.

Heb 10:1 ¶ The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming-- not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.

Heb 10:2  If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.

Heb 10:3  But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins,

Heb 10:4  because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

     R. The effectiveness of Christ’s cleansing.

Heb 10:14  because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

     S.  The necessity of mutual support.

Heb 10:25  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

     T. The importance of steadfast effort.

Heb 10:34  You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

Heb 10:35  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

Heb 10:36  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

     U. The importance of faith to accomplish the goal.

Heb 10:38  But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."

     V. Case studies in faith.

Heb 11:17ff  By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,

     W.          The encouragement of other victors and survivors.

Heb 12:1 ¶ Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

     X. The encouragement of the Chief Victor.

Heb 12:3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

     Y. The necessity of discipline and relationship.

Heb 12:5  And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

Heb 12:6  because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Heb 12:7  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?

Heb 12:8  If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.

Heb 12:9  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!

Heb 12:10  Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

Heb 12:11  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Heb 12:12  Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.

Heb 12:13  "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Heb 12:14  Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

     Z.  Gaining the freedom to serve.

Heb 13:1 ¶ Keep on loving each other as brothers.

Heb 13:2  Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Heb 13:3  Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Heb 13:4  Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Heb 13:5  Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Heb 13:6  So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

Heb 13:7  Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

     AA.        Being careful not to turn or return.

Heb 13:9  Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them.

     BB.        Being careful to pray.

Heb 13:18 ¶ Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.

     CC.        Understanding our resources.

Heb 13:20  May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,

Heb 13:21  equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Heb 13:22  Brothers, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written you only a short letter.

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