AIM: Christians are called to persevere in Christ, whose sacrifice has brought forgiveness
I. Christ’s one sacrifice makes those being made holy, perfect
1a. Law was only a shadow
1b-2. If law could make perfect =>would have stopped
3. Law sacrifices were an annual reminder
4. Impossible for animal blood to take away sin
5-7 Christ in Ps 40: Animal sacrifices insufficient, Christ took a body to do God’s will
8. Although ordained by law, God not pleased by animal sacrifices
9. Jesus, ‘Here I am to do your will’ = Replace 1st covenant with 2nd
10. “And by that”, We are made holy through Jesus’ sacrifice
11. Priest stand daily offering insufficient sacrifices
12. Jesus offered one sufficient sacrifice for all time and sat down
13. Jesus: waiting for enemies to be his footstool
14. By 1 sacrifice He made those being made holy, perfect
15-17. H/S and Father testify to this, too: the New Covenant
18. Where there is forgiveness => no more sacrifice
- OT sacrifices could not bring perfection
- Animal blood could not pay the price of sin
- Heavenly Jesus took the body of an earthly man to sacrifice
- Jesus sat down, but is waiting for final triumph
- We are made holy through Jesus’ sacrifice
- Those made holy are seen as perfect souls in heaven through Jesus
- Where there is forgiveness, there is no more sacrifice
- How am I trying to negotiate with God by offering to make sacrifices? What am I giving up to earn favor as opposed to abstaining from to show love, honor and respect?
- Am I living as “one made holy”? Am I still carrying around the guilt of my forgiven sins?
- Do I long for Jesus to come again and right the wrongs of this world, making His enemies a footstool, or would my heart have longing for those wrongs in which I partake?
- How does knowing the fact that Jesus as part of the Eternal Trinity chose to step down from heaven and take on the body of a man for the purpose of sacrificing that body change my view of Jesus? How does it change the message of good news I tell others?
II. Call to Christians to bond together with God – warning to those who choose sin instead
19-22. Since have confidence to enter with God => Draw near to God
23. Hold unswerving to faith
24-25. Meet with & help others: encouraging, love + good deeds
26-27. If choose path of sin after offered salvation => fearful expectation of judgment + damnation
28. With 2-3 witnesses violators of Mosaic law were killed
29. How much worse for those who trample Jesus
30-31. Dreadful thing (for tramplers) to fall into hands of the living God
- If confident to be with God, then draw near to Him
- Faith is a straight path to God
- Call to help others, meet together, encourage, love and do good deeds with and for each other
- Woe to those who choose to reject Jesus: trampling God’s only Son
- I’m confident in my faith – why am I still standing on the sidelines or standing at a distance from God instead of running into His arms?
- Do I have my hands on the wheel of my faith journey, living an intentional daily walk, or is my faith swerving all over the road because I’ve let go of the wheel?
- There are only 2 choices, accept the new law and live under it or reject it. There are eternal consequences. How fervently am I praying for those I love who have not made the right choice or are living like there is a 3rd choice?
- If someone trampled my child, as a parent what would be my response? Why would God’s response be any less?
III. Call to Christians to persevere and receive God’s promise
32-35. You have endured as Christians – do not throw away confidence
36. Persevere and receive the promise of God
37-38. Jesus is coming again without delay to judge
39. We belong to the faithful, not those who shrink back in fear
- Perseverance leads to receiving promise of God
- Called to stand side-by-side with the persecuted, regardless of immediate cost, eternal reward is better
- Jesus is coming again to judge
- Faithful are not shirkers, Faithful are saved
- What persecution do I face? Who am I standing with who is facing persecution?
- Do I ask God to strengthen me through difficulty or am I happy just being parked where I am rather than face challenges ahead?
- Am I living with confidence or living with fear? With God what is there possible to fear?
I’m struck by the depth of these verses as we dive into them word by word. There is so much here to encourage and challenge those of us who have accepted the new covenant of Jesus’ sacrifice.
We are called to bond together with each other and with God, but how often do I take the perspective of I’ll go my way and you go your way – to each his own? And the whole persecution thing – it is so tempting to be thankful for not facing persecution instead of seeing the righteousness in persecution and choosing to stand with others.
But mostly, I was struck by this visual image of God, the Trinity in heaven, and the Son of that Trinity choosing in love to step down and take on the body of a lowly man in this sin filled world, for the purpose of making a sacrifice of that body and all that goes with it.
In that I see the image of a soldier, who for the love of his children made the sacrifice of going off to distance lands to fight against evil oppressors and then coming home. I picture that soldier with his arms open wide to his children… and then I think about the response of those children. Do they run to him in love and thanks or do they wave and stay at a distance or do they see him, but choose to turn and walk away? That is the choice that we have been given to make – how will we react to the open arms of Jesus?