13 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 13

AIM: Live each day as a follower of Jesus Christ

I. Exhortation and guidance to live as a Christ follower

1. Keep on loving as brothers and sisters
2. Remember to show hospitality to strangers, some are angels
3. Remember prisoners & mistreated as if yourself
4. Faithful and true in marriage – God will judge
5. Trust in God, be content, don’t covet
6. Do not fear; Lord is Helper – “what can mortals do?”
7. Remember leaders and see them as models
8. Jesus Christ: same yesterday, today, forever (always)
9-10. Do not pursue strange teaching: Grace over Food
11-12. Sacrifice outside of camp – blood @ altar, old and new
13. Go to Jesus outside the “religious”
14. Not a promise of a city, promise of eternity
15-16. Seek to praise and do good and share “For God”
17. Follow leaders – they will give an account
18-19. Pray for each other

Truths:

  1. Relationships matter to God: love, hospitality, caring, honoring.
  2. If trust is in God, then contentment is the outcome
  3. If trust is not in God, then never content (always coveting)
  4. Jesus is eternal and eternally the same
  5. Don’t get sidetracked – Hold grace over acts/food/works/anything else
  6. Don’t wait for the church/synagogue/religious – just go to Jesus!
  7. When doing praise/good deeds/sharing: do it FOR GOD
  8. Follow leaders / they will have to give an account to God
  9. Pray for each other

Applications:

  1. I will write these exhortations down and review them daily.  I will pick one each day and pray that God give me an opportunity to “live it out” that day in a meaningful way.
  2. When I see a stranger, someone asking for help along the side of the road, am I able to picture them as being an angel?
  3. Do I recognize Jesus as eternal, unchanging, the constant when everything else seems to change?
  4. Am I pursuing strange teachings or do I hold fast to the grace of God?
  5. What am I waiting for to run to Jesus?  Am I waiting on someone else to give their permission or to lead the way?  What is holding me back?
  6. Do I follow my God appointed leaders?  In the roles where I am a leader, do I lead as one being held accountable to God?
  7.  Who am I supposed to be praying for today?  Did I do it yet?

 

II. Blessings, heartfelt fellowship and greetings for each other all stem from and lead back to the grace of God

20-21. May God equip and work through you
22. Bear with this word
23. I hope to come with my brothers to you
24. Greet all the Lord’s people & Leaders, We greet you
25. Grace with all

Truths:

  1. Equipping is from God and is a blessing through which He works through me
  2. Bear with the word
  3. Carry hope in fellowship
  4. Greet each other
  5. Seek and accept God’s grace

Applications:

  1. How am I receiving my equipping from God?  Am I trusting in and waiting on the Lord, or trying to do it with my own strength?  Do I try to “do the work” or ask God to “work through me”?
  2. How am I bearing in the word?
  3. How am I carrying hope to others?  Who do I long to partner with to carry forth God’s work?  (throughout the bible, followers were partnered together)
  4. Did I seek and accept God’s grace yet today?

 

Summary: Live each day as a follower of Jesus Christ by accepting God’s grace and His equipping.

Additional comments:

Sometimes these bible studies have so many points in them that cross things happening in my life that I feel like God is stitching them together right before my eyes.  I’ll try to give a glimpse from Hebrews 13 into just a few.

1. verse 2.  We stopped for dinner after a road trip the other night at a burger place in a college town on our way back home.  Sitting on the bench outside of the restaurant was a disheveled young man on a bench.  He was dirty, ill dressed and holding a sign asking for money.  I looked at him and the thoughts that crossed my mind were all negative.  Why is this healthy young man not working?  With so many businesses and so many people in this city, how is there not something productive to do?  What self-focused addictions is he chasing instead of being a good citizen?  What I did not see was the fact that he was a stranger.  What I did not see was an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love and hospitality.  What I did not see was any glimmer that the “young man” my eyes saw may have been an “angel”.  As I read Hebrews 13:2 these thoughts weighed heavily on my heart.  How would my heart and actions been more like Christs if my eyes simply saw things differently?

2. I just finished reading an amazing book, Captive in Iran. This is a story of 2 Iranian Christian women who were held in the worst prisons in Iran in horrific conditions for 250 days simply for being followers of Jesus Christ.  If anything thinks there is no longer any christian persecution, they need to read this book.  The captors and interrogators of these young women would tell them, “your religion says you must submit to the authority of your leaders.”  As I read Hebrews 13:17 I marveled at the fact that to this day Satan and those who serve his ways misquote scripture.  How convenient that they left out the second half of that sentence: “because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.”

3. Hebrews 13:13 never made sense to me until this week.  “Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.”  What was “the camp”, wasn’t it the church?  Why was Jesus then outside of the camp?  Why did I have to go to him outside instead of him coming inside?  His disgrace was turned to triumph, why is he still bearing it?  But, this week I realized I had always looked at that verse out of context.  It isn’t Jesus that is in the wrong place, it is the camp that is in the wrong place.  It isn’t Jesus who is holding onto disgrace, it is the camp who continues to view him as an outsider.  This book, Hebrews, was written to the Hebrews.  At the time of its writing, their camp was completely in the wrong place.  But anytime the camp is not in the same place that Jesus is, it is in the wrong place.  When the camp/the church puts up stakes based around anything other than the grace of God, the Word, Jesus, it is in the wrong place.  When the camp/the church sets up camp to yield to progressive social norms, instead of the facts of the gospel, it is in the wrong place.  The question is, am I in the camp or am I running to Jesus?  Am I willing to run to Jesus even if there isn’t a camp there?

4. Grace is enough.  I’ve sung the words at church.  I’ve sought the gift, especially when I’ve been confronted by my sin and inadequacy.  But do I live each day with those 3 words being a reality.  Do I chase “strange teachings”?  Do I seek the promise of an enduring city?  Am I waiting for God’s equipping and asking Him to work or am I trying to “show off” to God for how much I can do myself?  If so, where is the grace in that?

 

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12 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 12

AIM: Believers in Christ will be strengthened through discipline to help others realize God’s glory and grace

I. (1-5, 12-14) So that others may see God, pursue peace & holiness, strengthen self, walk straight path, be healed

1. Others are watching – shed weight of sin & endure
2. Fix eyes on Jesus: pioneer & perfector, cross to glory
3-4. Focus on Jesus’ suffering/endurance: yours =/= bloodshed
5. Don’t scorn God’s discipline or give up
12-13. Strengthen self + walk straight path, be healed
14. Pursue peace + holiness so that others see God

Truths:

  1. Others are watching
  2. Fix eyes on Jesus – how he ran the race
  3. Goal = finish the race = holiness
  4. Train, endure, pursue peace, be healed

 

Applications:

  1. Am I running the race (living out my faith) with the reality that others are watching?
  2. Who do I follow as my life coach?
  3. Am I training as if preparing for a race/marathon or resting?

 

II. (6-11) God disciplines His children to holiness as a father disciplines his loved ones

6. Lord disciplines those He loves and accepts
7. All fathers discipline their sons – God treating you as a son
8. If no discipline => not a son of God
9. We submit to discipline of earthly fathers => same w/ God
10. Earthly fathers disciple to make better, God disciplines to make holy
11. Disciplines is painful @ times but leads to fruit, peace, righteousness

Truths:

  1. Disciplines is done in love for growth
  2. Earthly discipline is for improvement
  3. Holy disciplines is for holiness
  4. There is pain in discipline but the reward is fruit of peace and righteousness

 

Applications:

  1. Is my view of discipline one of love or one of anguish?
  2. In discipline, do I learn and grow or just gripe?  Do look forward through the discipline to see the fruits of peace or righteousness or is my focus only on the discipline itself?
  3. Am I able to distinguish discipline from punishment or am I viewing discipline as punishment?

 

III. (15-29) Help other to not underestimate God’s full glory & grace – He shakes away heaven and earth’s “created things” as a devouring fire, only the unshaken remain.

15. See to it that others don’t become weeds
16-17. See to it that others don’t underestimate God’s blessing
18-19. Faith in God is not small or trite, it is large and powerful
20-21. Israelites could not approach God on Mt. Zion, even Moses trembled
22-24. But you can come directly to God through Christ
25. Take care: Do not refuse, if Israelites did not survive earthly warning, why think survive heavenly
26. His voice shook the earth, now shakes heaven and earth
27. Shaking = purification, but only once more
28a. We will receive an unshakable kingdom
28b. Give thanks, worship, devotion and awe to God
29. Our God is indeed a devouring fire

Truths:

  1. Believers have responsibility for others
  2. Our access to God is unprecedented in history
  3. Take care to not refuse or ignore the warning signs
  4. Heaven & earth will be shaken “once more” to remove that which is shakable
  5. The heaven we inherit is unshakable
  6. Give thanks, worship, devotion and AWE to God

 

Applications:

  1. Do I accept my responsibility as part of other Christians’ faith walk?
  2. Am I “taking care” daily?
  3. Am I unshakable?  Jesus is!

 

Summary: So that others may abide with God, the faithful must endure, be strong and not shaken

 

Additional thoughts:

There are a lot of metaphors in Hebrews 12: running, endurance, training, pioneer, discipline of fathers, bitter roots, shaking and unshakable and comparisons between our relationship with God and that of Abel, Moses and the Israelite nation at Mt. Zion.  But each is woven together in an attempt to adjust the thinking of the Hebrew audience (and ours today).

This life is not the competition to be won.  We don’t come out of it as the winner if we “do better” thank others.  We don’t achieve what God has in store for us by sitting back and taking it easy, taking life “as the sands through the hour glass.”

Life is training camp.  Life is where we accept the jersey to play on the team and train along side others.  Unbelievers are not our opponents, they are those standing on the sideline who have not yet accepted the call to be part of the team.

And like training camp, others are watching.  Other players.  Others on the sidelines.  Our coach and owner.  Training is hard.  And we aren’t training to just be “better”.  Our coach and our owner is training us to become perfect, to become holy.  We are part of a team.  It is not our own performance alone, but our example and leadership and compassion to others on the training field as well.

Our access to our coach, Jesus, is unprecedented in the history of the world.  The chosen people of God and even Moses trembled at the base of the mountain, but Jesus has walked among us and talked with us.  Our ability to see and know and follow His example is an amazing gift, but also one to not be taken lightly.

A time of shaking is coming.  Once more God will shake the heaven and the earth.  That which is shakable/impure, will be cast out, but that which stands strong will inherit the unshakable kingdom.

Train hard.  Train knowing that others are watching, constantly.  Train not as if it were a job, but as if it were your life on the line, and not just this life, but life for all eternity.  The harder you train, the harder the training, but the harder the training, the stronger the ability to stand with arms high.

 

11 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 11

AIM: God’s plan is for something better for all the faithful of all time

I. Faith is the confidence in hope and assurance in the unseen

1. Faith: confidence in hope, assurance in unseen

Truths:

  1. Faith is confidence in hope
  2. Faith is assurance in the unseen

Applications:

  1. Do I have confidence in the hope of Christ?
  2. Do I live as one with assurance in the unseen or do I want “to be shown to believe”?

II. Bible is filled with many who lived by faith without receiving the promise

2. Forefather commended for faith
3. Believe in creation by faith
4. Abel’s faith in sacrifice, commendation, still speaks
5. Enoch’s faith: Pleased God, taken to heaven
6. W/o faith =/= please God b/c w/o faith would not approach God
7. Noah’s faith: built ark, heir to righteousness
8-9a. Abraham’s faith: Went to land, made home
9b-10. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob: Tent dwellers looking forward to City
11. Sarah’s faith: old, bore child
12. From this one old man came many descendants/nations
13a. These were living by faith @ death – did not receive Jesus
13b-16. Foreigners looking to eternal home: God prepared City
17-19. Abraham trusted God enough to obey: Isaac as sacrifice
20. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob & Esau
21. By faith Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons
22. By faith Jacob instructed his bones home @ exodus
23. By faith infant Moses was hid
24-26. By faith Moses chose life of Israelite over son of Pharaoh
27. By faith Moses left Egypt
28. By faith Moses kept the passover
29. By faith Israelites crossed Red Sea, Egyptians drowned
30. By faith walls of Jericho fell
31. By faith Rahab saved
32-38. By faith many many many more acts

Truths:

  1. Throughout the ages there have been the faithful
  2. All faithful were commended for their faith
  3. None received what was promised (before Jesus)

Applications:

  1. Is my faith like that of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham?
  2. They lived by faith without Jesus, how is the gift of Christ making me stronger in my faith?
  3. By faith, would I leave my home?  By faith would I shelter others?  By faith, am I giving and receiving blessings?

 

III. God’s plan is for something better so together all faithful “be made perfect”

39-40.Commended for faith – Together w/ us be made perfect

Truths:

  1. God planned something better
  2. Faithful – all together – would be made perfect

Applications:

  1. Am I gratefully accepting God’s “better plan” or am I trying to make my own plans?
  2. Am I yielding daily to God’s transformation of my life to “be made perfect”

 

Additional Comments:

How many times have we heard things like, “If I could only see Jesus, then I would believe.”  or “I just need some proof to have faith.”

But, Hebrews 11 explains that would not be faith.  Faith includes an element of trust.  Faith includes an element of choice.  We know that when Christ returns He will be recognized by everyone still living.  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Rom 14).  Even the demons that there is one God (James 2:19).  But that does not mean these groups of people are living by faith – in fact we know from the scriptures that they are not.

But for the faithful, God has planned something better:  To take those who have been made holy (sanctified, set apart for a special purpose in the service of the Lord), and to make them perfect.

I don’t feel perfect.  I don’t live a perfect life.  But I recognize that God is transforming me.  Not just to make me a little bit better than what I am today, but for the ultimate goal of giving me a new life and a new body so that I can live with Him in his holy presence in the eternal city that He has build, forever.

 

10 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 10

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

Truths:

  1. OT sacrifices could not bring perfection
  2. Animal blood could not pay the price of sin
  3. Heavenly Jesus took the body of an earthly man to sacrifice
  4. Jesus sat down, but is waiting for final triumph
  5. We are made holy through Jesus’ sacrifice
  6. Those made holy are seen as perfect souls in heaven through Jesus
  7. Where there is forgiveness, there is no more sacrifice

Applications:

  1. 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?
  2. Am I living as “one made holy”?  Am I still carrying around the guilt of my forgiven sins?
  3. 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?
  4. 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

Truths:

  1. If confident to be with God, then draw near to Him
  2. Faith is a straight path to God
  3. Call to help others, meet together, encourage, love and do good deeds with and for each other
  4. Woe to those who choose to reject Jesus: trampling God’s only Son

Applications:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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

Truths:

  1. Perseverance leads to receiving promise of God
  2. Called to stand side-by-side with the persecuted, regardless of immediate cost, eternal reward is better
  3. Jesus is coming again to judge
  4. Faithful are not shirkers, Faithful are saved

Applications:

  1. What persecution do I face?  Who am I standing with who is facing persecution?
  2. Do I ask God to strengthen me through difficulty or am I happy just being parked where I am rather than face challenges ahead?
  3. Am I living with confidence or living with fear?  With God what is there possible to fear?

 

Additional comments:

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?

 

09 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 9

AIM: Jesus’ blood sacrifice consummated the new covenant of forgiveness

I. 1st covenant carried specific but symbolic regulations, structures and appointments for the High Priest

1. 1st covenant: regs for worship and sanctuary
2-5a. Tabernacle: structure, appointments, specifications
5b-7. Priests enter continually, High Priests enters annually with blood
8. Holy Spirit makes clear: No holy place entry by common man while temple stands
9-10a. Gifts & sacrifices were symbolic – could not perfect
10b. External regulations until new order came

Truths:

  1. Regulations and structure of the tabernacle were part of the 1st covenant
  2. Only High Priest could enter inner sanctum annually with blood
  3. Gifts and sacrifices of the temple were symbolic

 

Application:

  1. How well do I understand the structure and holy intent of God’s regulations?  Do I see it as legalistic or do I see it as symbolism that helps bring me closer to God?
  2. Do I try to enter the inner sanctum without repenting and being cleansed by the blood of the lamb?
  3. Have I praised God for creating a “new order”?

 

II. Jesus, the High Priest of Good Things to Come, entered the Heavenly temple by His own blood

11a. But Now: Christ is High Priest of Good Things to Come
11b-12. Jesus Christ entered Heavenly Holy of Holies once for all by His own blood: secured eternal redemption
13. Blood of animals provided ritual purity
14. Blood of Christ, through Holy Spirit, purifies our conscience to worship God

Truths:

  1. Christ is the High Priest of Good Things to Come
  2. Blood required for High Priest to enter Holy of Holies, Jesus by His own blood
  3. Blood of Jesus, through H/S, purifies our conscience to worship

 

Applications:

  1. Are my thoughts mired in the problems all around or is my focus on “the Good Things to Come”?
  2. When I think of heaven’s doors open, do I see the price of the blood offering that was given for them to be opened?
  3. Have I prayed for not only a clean heart and renewed spirit, but also a purified conscience so that I can truly worship God?

 

III. Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant, shed His blood, died, appears to God in Heaven & will return bringing salvation

15. Jesus is mediator of the new covenant – paid price for unfaithfulness (violation of old covenant)
16-17. To execute a will – death certificate is required
18-20. 1st covenant: inaugurated by Moses with blood
21-22a. All temple spaces & utensils purified with blood
22b. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness
23. Earthly tabernacle purified with animal blood + Heavenly required more
24. Christ did not enter earthly temple but heavenly + appears to God for us
25-26a. Jesus does not repeat sacrifices like earthly priests
26b. One appearance for consummation of the ages: defeated sin
27. We die once => face judgment
28. Jesus offering once (bearing sins of many), appearing again to bring salvation.

Truths:

  1. New covenant (like a will) is an inheritance
  2. Death & blood required to execute a will
  3. Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness
  4. Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient / complete
  5. Jesus died once, bearing the sins of many and He will appear again to bring salvation

 

Applications:

  1. Am I living as and adopted child of God?  Have I accepted the inheritance that Jesus died to provide for me?
  2. Do I take responsibility for my sins and the death and blood that they require for forgiveness?  What is my view of blood: negative or the essence of life being sacrificed for my sin?
  3. Do I try to earn salvation or do I fully accept that Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient and complete?

 

Summary:

Jesus fulfilled the symbolism of the 1st covenant by entering the temple of heaven through His own blood to mediate the new covenant of salvation.

 

Additional Comments:

The life is in the blood.  We can think of blood as gory, dark, something negative, but it is life.

God gave life to man.  He made man in His image and it was very good.  He gave one restriction, one thing that drew a distinction between creator and created: Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  But man chose sin and disobedience.  Man chose to put faith in our own discernment instead of in the word of God.

When we chose that path, we were obligated to give the 1st and foremost gift that we received from God back to God.  In other words, we had to give back the gift of life.

But God chose a substitution instead of what was really due.  It wasn’t sufficient.  Giving the life of an animal was symbolic only and could not truly recreate perfection.  That would require the life of a man who did not sin (so that the shedding of blood would not be simply the requirement of restitution for his own sin).  In other words, something no man could ever possibly do – Until Jesus.

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  But with the blood of the lamb or God, Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, the conscience of believers is purified to enter into true and direct worship of our Creator.  Jesus provided His perfect sacrifice once, bearing the sins of many.  Jesus will also come again to bring salvation – the Good News of the New Covenant of Good Things to Come.

 

If I ever start a church, I’m calling it “The Church of Good Things to Come!” Amen.

08 Hebrews Homiletics Chapter 8

AIM: Jesus is the signatory for man and the executor of the new covenant of God’s forgiveness

I. Everything about the earthly priesthood is but a copy/shadow of Jesus

1. Summary: Our High Priest sat down @ the Right Hand of God
2. And He serves in God’s sanctuary
3. High Priests offer gifts & sacrifices
4. Jesus would not be just another earthly priest
5. Earthly sanctuary is a copy/shadow of the heavenly
6. New covenant is better => Jesus is better in every way

Truth

  1. High Priest Jesus sat @ right hand of Throne
  2. High Priest Jesus also serves in heaven’s tabernacle
  3. High priests offer gifts and sacrifices / Jesus offers His gifts and His sacrifice
  4. Priesthood & sanctuary are copies/shadows of heavenly holy place
  5. Jesus is superior in every way

 

Applications:

  1. I will praise Jesus for His sacrifice and renew the offering of His gift to me
  2. I will thank God for making a new covenant
  3. I will pray for Jesus to remove the burden of my sins and to fill me with the spirit of righteousness

 

II. Man, through unfaithfulness, did not execute the old covenant – God made a new covenant through the Christ Man, Jesus.

7. The old covenant was not perfectly executed by sinful man
8. “Time coming for a New Covenant
9. Not like Exodus covenant: Man failed: unfaithful
10. New Covenant: laws in heart & mind, they My people, I Am their God
11. All will know God
12. God will forgive”
13. New = Old is obsolete & will disappear

Truth:

  1. God found fault with man in the covenant
  2. Man’s unfaithfulness diminished the covenant
  3. In the New Covenant, all will know God
  4. The New Covenant is a promise of forgiveness
  5. The New makes the Old obsolete

 

Application:

  1. How am I living as a “people of” God?  Would others see the colors of my flag in everything I think, say and do?
  2. How do I continue to try to provide for my own justification before God even though I know that any good acts of mine are but copies/shadows of the ultimate act of my Lord?

 

Summary: The old covenant (the law and priesthood before Jesus) are a copy/shadow of God’s New Covenant: Jesus Christ

 

Additional comments:

In comparing old vs. new there are 2 main approaches: “break/fix” or “new/improved”.  Was the old broken and thus a new one is needed or is a newer/better version available as an upgrade/improvement.  The writer of Hebrews has anticipated both interpretations of the Old vs. New Covenants of God and seeks to shed additional light and clarity.

The Old Covenant, the covenant of the law from God through Moses was a perfect covenant.  There was no imperfection in the design or writing of the covenant of the law.  There were no “manufacturer’s defects” in its design.  The problem with the old covenant was that man, having received the covenant and having committed to it, turned around and immediately broke it.  The breaking of the covenant wasn’t because God’s craftsmanship of the law was imperfect or that God was imperfect, but that man chose sin over faithfulness.

In this regard, the writer of Hebrews paints the picture that it is right to think of the Old Covenant as broken and the New Covenant as the replacement/fix.

But the New Covenant is not just a re-do of the Old Covenant.  It is not a warranty replacement.  It is not even an incremental improvement.  The author of Hebrews explains that in every way the “replacement” covenant is so much better than the old covenant that the old is but a shadow.  It would be like comparing the stone wheels of our earliest ancestors to modern transportation (while understanding that is still an inadequate comparison to the order of magnitude that Jesus provides).

Looking at this highlights how amazing God’s love is for us.  No human would provide you with something perfect, watch you break and trample it in his presence and then not only replace it, but replace it with something so much better as to be incomparable.  Not only that, but to prevent the same issue from arising again, God provided His only Son to become a man to sign the new covenant as a man for all mankind and then to perfectly execute our side of the covenant through His blood.  He then to ascend to heaven and returned to the throne, while also continuing to serve on our behalf in the temple of heaven for as long as heaven and earth continue.

07 Hebrews Homiletics, Chapter 7

AIM: God’s oath is to bring us back into a perfect relationship with Him through Jesus

I. Precedent: “Order of Melchizedek” priesthood preceded Aaron and Levitical priesthood

1.-2a. Abraham tithed to Melchizedek after rescuing Lot
2b. Melchizedek = King of Righteousness and Peace
3. Like Son of God, Mel had no beginning or end, remains priest forever
4. Mel is great, Abraham gave 10%
5. By law, Levites collect 10% from Isrealites
6a. Melchizedek not a Levite, Abraham still gave 10%
6b-7. Melchizedek blessed Abraham, greater blesses lesser
8. Levitical order = many & mortal; Melchizedek order = singular & perpetual
9-10. Unborn Levi tithed to Melchizedek through Abraham

Truths:

  1. Abraham gave 10% to Melchizedek
  2. Melchizedek = Priest & King of Righteousness and Peace
  3. Melchizedek blessed Abramah
  4. Greater blesses the lesser

Applications:

  1. I will tithe
  2. Am I seeking from my King an easier path through life or am I seeking righteousness and peace?
  3. Am I “set in my ways” of elementary instruction and tradition, or am I seeking more enlightenment to have a deeper relationship with my Lord?

II. Insufficient: Levitical priesthood & Law were insufficient to cleanse perfectly

11. If perfection were possible through Aaron/Levites/Law => no need for Order of Melchizedek priest
12. Priesthood change = Law change
13. Jesus was not a Levite
14. Jesus born through Judah, not a Mosaic ordained priestly line
15-16. A priest like Melchizedek appearing, by power not ancestry, proves the point
17. Prophecy in Psalm: Jesus=Priest forever, Order of Melchizedek
18. Rule that only Levites can be priests was set aside
19. Law was insufficient, now there is better hope – to God

Truths:

  1. The Law and the sacrifices by priests were and are insufficient
  2. God wants us to become perfect
  3. Jesus received the priesthood through His power, not His mortal ancestry
  4. There is now a better hope

Applications:

  1. How do I show thanks for the better hope?
  2. Am I seeking perfection through Jesus or am I accepting of my own persistent sin?
  3. Am I trying to reach a better relationship with God through legalism and personal sacrifice or by submitting to Him through my High Priest, Jesus?

III. Perfection: God’s oath made Jesus the perfect, eternal High Priest in heaven

20-21. Jesus is priest by the oath of God – not true of all Levitical priests
22. Through oath: Jesus=guarantor of better covenant
23-24. Mortal priests were many, but Jesus is our eternal priest
25. Interceding always = saves completely
26. High Priest Jesus meets all needs: holy, blameless, pure, set apart, exalted
27. Jesus sacrifice for us: One and Done.  Not needed for His own perfection.
28. Law appoints weak priests, God’s oath appoints His perfect Son.

Truths:

  1. Jesus is a priest by the oath of God
  2. Jesus is the guarantor of God’s new/better covenant
  3. Jesus saves completely

Applications:

  1. How will my thoughts and actions today praise my exalted, holy, pure, set apart and blameless High Priest?
  2. How have I seen God’s new and better covenant change my life?
  3. Knowing that I am saved completely, what bold act can I take today?

Additional Comments:

The end goal is to live in perfection forever in the presence of God in perfect unity with Him: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We aren’t there, yet.  That time has not yet come.  We still live in a fallen world, contaminated by sin.  The land is contaminated, the seas are, the rivers, all life has been contaminated by the sin of man.  To ultimately reach that state will require a change in us.  A new body and a new earth.  That day will come.

But in the interim, are we abandoned to sin?  Not at all.  God is a loving God who provides the best for His people.  In Exodus, He gave the covenant of the Law to His people.  He sealed it in Exodus 24:8, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”  Through Christ, God brought us a step closer to Himself through a new covenant, Matthew 26.28, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

God’s covenants and oaths are perfect and perfectly reliable.  Each has brought us a step closer to the ultimate place, perfect unity with Him for all eternity. We know from Revelation 5 that no additional blood must be shed for the final steps in God’s plan and promise.  The Lamb is worthy to open the seven sealed scroll and redeem this fallen world and fallen people because of the sacrifice He, Jesus, has already made.