Wednesday Night Message: Lessons from John the Baptist

Lessons from John the Baptist
I. Conceived miraculously.
Luke 1:13-14 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
II. Consecrated from conception.
Luke 1:15-17 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
III. Called to serve the Lord.
Luke 1:16-17 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
IV. Courageous in service. Read Luke 3:18-20
Luke 7:24-28 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
V. Confused by circumstances.
Luke 7:18-20 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
Being faithful in service does not guarantee understanding the working of God in our lives. We need to be faithful, having faith in Him, understanding that His plan is bigger than we are. We are a part of the whole and will bring glory to God through carrying out our part in His work. We should always remember –
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Note of interest: The comparison of John to Elijah.
Luke 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Matthew 11:13-14 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
Both Elijah and John were powerful prophets of God, but each came to have doubts about the success of their ministries.
Elijah did not understand why Israel did not repent in sackcloth and ashes following the victory God wrought against the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. At the end of the day, nothing had changed except the anger of Jezebel had increased and she sought to have him killed!
Men measure their work according to their perception in time and space. The Lord views His work in both time and eternity. He knows the end from the beginning.
We must invest our faith and trust in Him.

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Wednesday night message: Rehoboam – a man unprepared to serve the Lord

Rehoboam – a man unprepared to serve the Lord
Text: 2 Chronicles 11 and 12
Notice Solomon’s concern for his son and the instruction he gave to him.
Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
Proverbs 23:19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

23 times Solomon gave wise counsel to his son, and unto all men under the leadership of God.
Children may receive instruction, but not always apply it to their lives.

We should all desire to be the best that we can be for God and to have the best that God has for us.
If you are a Christian today, your salvation is secure, you are “in Christ” :

Romans 8:1a “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,…
John 3:16-18 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. John 10:28-30

Yet, you may not be living for God, giving Him your best and because of this you have not been in the position to receive the blessings from God. Paul the Apostle was concerned about this in his own life and spoke of the care and the diligence he showed in giving his best to God.

1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

He did not want to be set aside, not to be put on a shelf and only have memories of what he used to do, the blessings he used to have: he wanted to give his best and he wanted to receive the best from God.

Let me make a clarification here. The best we may receive from God is not fortune or power; or even good health and long life. God can give these things, but what we are speaking of is eternal, everlasting benefits. Not only eternal life, but fellowship with God and being used of God.
What did the Apostle Paul have of what people would count as valuable? Very little!
What did he have of what God counts as valuable? Much – he was faithful and usable. He was what he called a ‘vessel unto honour’ – one that God would be pleased to use. A vessel unto honour!

Let’s look this morning at a king in the Old Testament that ended up with less than the best from God. He started out knowing the truth, but how did he finish?

I. The blessings of faith. He obeyed the principles of God. 2 Chronicles 11:4-17
He wanted to reunite the kingdom by using force, but he repented and –

A. He submitted to God’s will. 2 Chronicles 11:4
B. He secured the land – the people dwelt in safety. 2 Chronicles 11:5-12 This is the purpose of the government.
C. He sought the Lord. 2 Chronicles 11:13-17

1. He welcomed those that sought the Lord.
2. He walked in the way of David and Solomon: worshipped the Lord.

God blessed them with peace and safety. In this time of blessing, living a comfortable life, he began to seek the pleasures of life (11:23.”…and he desired many wives.”) instead of obeying the principles of God.

II. The danger of prosperity. He obeyed the pride of life. 2 Chronicles 12:1
People get comfortable
A. He was secure in his position. He was the King.
B. He was secure in his protection. He had fortified the cities
C. He was satisfied and no longer needed to serve God.

1. He turned from following the Lord.
2. He opened up Judah to every form of sin.
1 Kings 14:22-24 And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
3. His example was followed by the people.

He wanted God to bless him and accepted the blessings of God in the name of God. Once he believed he had enough, he wanted God to leave him alone and let him do what he wanted to do. He did not realize how careful God is about His name.
Psalm 23 “he leadeth me in paths of righteousness for His names sake…”!

D. He was shaken by God’s judgment. 2 Chronicles12:2-4

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

III. The results of repentance. 2 Chronicles12:5-12

A. Blessings from God. 2 Chronicles 12:5-7 God forgave them because of their repentence and turning to Him. This forgiveness resulted in –

1. Peace.
2. Protection.
But, it also resulted in a –

3. Price. There is a price to pay for sin. We all will end up –

B. Bearing the consequences. 2 Chronicles 12:8-12

1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

Rehoboam could have had the best that God had to give, but he did not follow the Lord with all of his heart. The Lord revealed to us Rehoboam’s problem.
Look in 2 Chronicles 12:14.
Rehoboam did not prepare his own heart to walk with the Lord. Last week we looked at the life of Ezra, a man that did prepare his heart to follow the Lord and we noted the blessings of God upon him. We have a choice –

A simple formula has been passed down for years in business to help people succeed. It is this – “Plan your work, and work your plan”. It means to prepare yourself for success. If you will be faithful to the Lord you must also prepare yourself. Determine to do God’s will.

1. Be saved.
2. Be baptized.
3. Be instructed.
4. Be serving, teaching others to be saved, be baptized, be instructed.
Matthew 28:18-20. Are you ready to meet the Lord or will you be ashamed if He comes today?

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Complete Preaching Outline for the Letter to the Hebrews

Preaching Outline of the Letter to the Hebrews

This letter to the Hebrews glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and exalts Him above all things as is proper –

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Today we need to discover the necessity for writing this letter. When we are asked of the purpose of the letter, we would answer that the Lord is set forth as being better than anything – full stop!

We would think that they, as well as we, would know this truth seeing that we have come to Him as Lord and Saviour, gladly admitting that which was testified of by John –

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

It seems from the evidence given in the letter that the people had lost their zeal, their energy in living their day to day lives for the Lord. Does this sound familiar. We also have the inclination to slow down in our service to the Lord. I trust that this exhortation will be our exhortation to prepare our hearts to keep the Lord as our first love!

We note three things today – The Passion was gone from their lives resulting in the Problem being discovered which led to the Prescription for recovery. We begin this morning with the description of –
I. The Passion faded from their lives.

A. They had ignored the power of the Lord. Hebrews 2:1 “drifting”

“…lest at any time we should let them slip.”
They began to believe that if they did not do the work of the Lord, someone else would. They were busy in the work of life and did not have time, but someday they would have the time to give unto the Lord.
How often we say “Where has the day gone”? Think about this – we talk about the day slipping by, what about the week, the month, the year, the life! “On my, where has my life gone”? I meant to do more, but I let it “slip” by.

B. They had ignored the purpose of the Lord. Hebrews 6:12

“…That ye be not slothful…” “sluggish” We are in danger of being quick starters for everything except our service to the Lord.
Have you visited a crocodile farm and watched them laze around the pool. You would think that they were asleep, or even dead. They seem to be so sluggish. It is all they can do just to change their position a bit. A serious change is noticed when a chicken carcass is thrown in though. Wham! The crocodile comes alive with desire to get the chicken first! This is how many Christians are – seeming to laze around saving our energy for something really important and when it comes along, we come alive! We might say of Christians “It would be great if they got that excited about the things of God”!

Now, we are not crocodiles in a river or sloths in a jungle. God has not created us to laze around a pool of water or climb along vines in a jungle. He has created us to work steadfastly at that which He puts before us.
These believers were drifting along, they were spiritually sleeping.
Paul wrote to them and revealed –

II. The Problem evidenced in their lives.

A. They were preoccupied.

Hebrews 5:11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

Paul told them that it was very difficult for him to teach intelligently, to give them the interpretation of spiritual things, because they would not listen with the desire of understanding.
They were like these of our day that cannot be taught because they are like children, totally occupied with toys and games –

Hebrews 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

B. They were spiritually paralyzed.

Hebrews 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
Can you imagine the man with the palsy who was carried by his friends to Jesus and wonderfully healed with the Lord commanding him “take up thy bed and walk” returning to his bed of affliction? What about the woman taken with the terrible disease of twelve years that He healed on the road as He went to the home of Jairus to heal his daughter. Or the lame man at the pool of Bethesda or the blind man in Jericho? Do you think any of them would throw away the life that Jesus gave them?
Paul knew of the problems. He warned them and then he gave them –

III. The Prescription for recovery.

A. Pay attention Hebrews 2:1

“…we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard…”

Paul is exhorting us to examine our motives in hearing and obeying the Word of God. We are challenged to go beyond our duty as we are instructed. We should desire to hear God and obey Him. We begin our life with God through dutiful obedience to Him. As we learn of Him we are to grow from duty to desire.
Paying attention to God’s will for us is more than just doing what we should do, as doing our duty. Paying attention to God’s will for us is necessary if we are going to be what God wants us to be!

Refer to the use of the word in –

2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must (ought) not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

Paul tells us that a servant of the Lord should not quarrel, fight, with others. He should be gentle to all men. In order to understand our motives, we will illustrate simply using an employer/employee relationship.

One might say “That employer does not fight with his employees”, and go on to say – “Look, he is being kind to them. His actions show what he does. One might also say of another employer– “Look, he is kind to them.” His attitude shows what he is. You may say that it is a small thing, doing and being, as long as the work of God is done. But it makes all the difference in the world to the Lord. He is all of what He says He is and we are to be all that we say we are!
Paul wrote the Hebrews and told them that if they were going to glorify God on earth by their lives, they needed to begin by being what He wanted them to be and that could only be accomplished if they “gave earnest heed to the things which we have heard.” They need to pay attention to Gods will.

From here they would –

B. Pray assuredly Hebrews 4:14-16

They would be known as God’s children, a people who were in daily communion with Him. Their faith and trust would be evident through their reliance on the Lord which would be evidenced through their prayer life.
These people were in danger of growing cold to the things of God. They had become preoccupied and paralyzed. In order to recover they must pay attention to the Word of God, they must pray assuredly to the Lord and then they must –

C. Participate actively Hebrews 12:1,2

Action is a necessary part of our being as Christians. The Lord stated this in –

John 14:31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

We are to be witnesses unto the Lord and there is only one way to accomplish the purpose of God in our lives – “Arise, let us go…” Run the race that God has put us in!
The Letter to the Hebrews is a testimony to the infinite greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ. I challenge us today to prepare our hearts and minds to read, know, and do what we will be challenged with as we preach this Word in the coming weeks.

The Letter to the Hebrews is vitally important as the Lord helps people understand that trusting Him by faith does not change them from being who they are nationally. Being a Jew was the same as being an Israelite. How could one be one without the other? Many nationalities are identified by religion and do not understand how they can be faithful to their culture when they no longer follow the religion of their family. The family can put tremendous pressure on the believer, considering them a traitor to their heritage.

I. Establishment of authority. 1:1-3

The Jewish Christians needed to understand that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the prophecies given throughout their history by God. He is the prophesied Messiah.
Jesus stated that He was the one spoken of in the Law and the Prophets and that He had not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it. All of the Law speaking of Him was fulfilled in Him. They needed to know that the Messiah came to them as promised by God, but the people rejected him. Paul stated this in –

Romans 10:1-4 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Through their rejection, the nation of Israel has been set aside –

Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

The Law was in place for Israel, not for the church.

These believers were saved by the grace of God (all men) through faith and were to be faithful to His Word in the building of His church, not by becoming a Jew through birth and religious rites, living according to the Law.
Paul was able to establish credibility among the people through the Lord’s working in his life.
He was a Jew that was well versed in the Law and the Prophets as well as the traditions of the nation.

Philippians 3:3-4 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

Ga 1:14-16 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen…

Paul understood what he believed. He learned the truth of the Gospel through debate and reasoning with believers –

Acts 6:9-10 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

Paul had argued with Stephen and the other Christians and was not able to prove them wrong. The Jews tried every argument and well understood what the doctrine of the Christians. They became angry and decided that the people must be destroyed. Paul became the leader of this war against believers, the first death being that of Stephen the deacon –

Acts 7:58-59 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
Paul continued to carry out the persecution –

Acts 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
And through his own words of speaks of the hatred that drove him –

Acts 26:10-11 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

He learned everything he could about those that trusted in Jesus of Nazareth as the Saviour. It is interesting to see how that as he used this information to persecute them, the Lord was using the same information to convict Paul of his sin and need of the Saviour –

Acts 26:12-19 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

Many Jews were confused and they needed instruction in the commandments of God. Paul began to instruct them by first establishing the authority of Jesus of Nazareth.

At this time, Paul was a vessel in the hand of God to be used to share the Word of God to the Jews and to the Gentiles. God led him to write this letter to explain to the believing Jews about their position in the Lord.

A. The Father – Jehovah Hebrews 1:1,2a

Paul began this letter with facts believed by all Jews – that God revealed Himself to their forefathers by the prophets. This statement would not be contested by any Jew.

1. Acknowledged prophets that were in the lineage of Jesus.

a. Enoch. Jude 14
b. Noah. “…preacher of righteousness…”

2. Acknowledged prophets in the general history of Israel.

Prophets such as –

a. Isaiah. 700 bc Prophesied of the virgin birth, 7:14, and the rejected life –

Isaiah 53:5-12 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

b. Micah. Prophesied about the same time as Isaiah. He told of the place of the Saviour’s birth, 5:2
c. Daniel. 600 – 500 bc. Presented the time of the Saviour’s birth.
d. Jeremiah. 600 bc Prophesied of the one who would be King, The Righteous Branch and everlasting King.

e. Zechariah. 500 bc The coming King

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

f. Malachi 400 bc. The messenger is coming and the Judge is following soon.

Malachi 3:1-2 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

Notice that the focus of the Lord is truth through His Word. They were to trust and grow in faith according to His revealed will. The same is true today!

We come to the Lord through faith. The question is presented “How do we have faith”? The question is answered in

Romans 10:9-14 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

The question to the Jews is the same as the question to you today. Have you believed in God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Millions of people are in church today but, sad to say, they will not be in Heaven. They have put their trust, their faith, in the wrong thing. They have not come to God by faith in His Son through the hearing of truth.

We have heard so many reasons from people as to why they go to church that have nothing to do with faith in Him.

The Lord has told us very clearly that “No man cometh to the Father but by Him”. This is a truth of God in His Word, the Bible.

Hebrews 1:2 “…Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…”

As I read these words “…spoken unto us by his Son…”, I thought about the ministry of Jesus, the many things that He did and said.
Luke recorded what the Lord spoke about the purpose of His coming –

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
The last words spoken by Jesus as He died on the cross were –

John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

From His birth to His death on the cross, He carried out the will of God. The prophets had spoken of God’s will and the Lord Jesus fulfilled that will. His life ministry, preaching, and teaching was recorded that we might have the record of His purpose.

The Apostle John told us –

John 20:31 “…these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

Let’s consider what the Lord has spoken to us. When I think about the prophecies made, the prophecies fulfilled, and the prophecies to be fulfilled, I think of that which was spoken by the Lord to a teacher in Israel. The man is Nicodemus, and he was called by the Lord a “Master in Israel.”

It is interesting to note that with his knowledge of the Word of God – the prophecies made, the prophecies fulfilled, and the prophecies to be fulfilled, the Lord only spoke to him about one thing.

John 3:1-3 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

“God has spoken to us in these last days by His Son.” The question we want to answer today is what do these words mean? “Ye must be born again”.

Being born once, we are in this world, but we are incomplete. We know that we need more than we have and set out to fulfil ourselves. When Nicodemus met with Jesus, even he was seeking something, though he was a master of religion in Israel. He knew that God was working through this man, Jesus, in a way in which he did not understand. Jesus instructed Nicodemus in the simple truth of that which no other thing can fulfil – “Ye must be born again”.
Being born once leads us to question “Why am I here”?

We endeavor to find completion through –
Personal industry and accumulating material goods,
Education, accumulating knowledge,
Control of mind and body through physical exercise, (martial arts, yoga…)
Being one with nature through spiritual environmentalism,
The absolute atheist who seeks peace of mind through his belief in reality only,
And then there is Religion. People are seeking answers to the reason of life!

Being “Born Again” answers the questions of life and brings peace with God.

Again, Paul reminded us in Hebrews 1:2 that God “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…”

Lets look this morning in John 3 what His Son, Jesus, said –

I. The Response to Nicodemus. John 3:3-7

A. The command given to Nicodemus. John 3:3,7

3:3 “…Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 3:7 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

B. The confusion of Nicodemus. John 3:4

“How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”

1. He understood as those of the world. Things have not changed throughout the ages –

Isaiah 6:9-10 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

2. He underestimated who he was talking to. He thought he was talking to a man of God instead of God the man, Jesus Christ!

C. The clarification given to Nicodemus. John 3:5-7

1. The explanation. John 3:5,6 The couplet
2. The exhortation. 3:7 No other plan for salvation exist. “…Ye must…”

Next we learn of –

II. The Requirement of God. John 3:14 Salvation comes with a price – paid in full by God!

Romans 5:8-10 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Knowing what the Lord said to Nicodemus, we need to understand why He said it –

III. The Reason. John 3:15-18

A. God’s desire for all. John 3:15 “…should not perish, but have eternal life.”

B. God’s love for all. John 3:16 “For God so loved…”

C. God’s grace for all. John 3:17,18

“…but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

According to the Word of God, that which was spoken by the prophets and in the last times by His Son, all men are sinners in need of the Saviour! God has removed all confusion. We do not have to examine ourselves by our works to decide whether we are good enough to get into Heaven. None of us are good enough! “… for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Paul wrote in

Romans 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
We all need to be saved and when we call upon the Lord for that salvation, it is forever! We do not have to decide if we are good enough to get into Heaven and we do not have to decide whether we live good enough to make it into Heaven.

Both giving and keeping our salvation is the work of God! Praise His name!

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This is the message that the Lord spoke – “Ye must be born again” Are you born again?

The prophets spoke –

Isaiah 49:7-8 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

And the Lord led the New Testament writers –

2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
Believe, turning to God for salvation today!

We have presented the Introduction, stating the necessity of the letter to the Hebrews. In the second and third messages, we submitted the fact that God has revealed Himself and His will by His Word through the Prophets and then through His Son, Jesus of Nazareth.

This morning we will speak to the revelation of God about His Son, setting forth His authority, proving that He is worthy of worship and obedience. God has –

B. Revealed Himself through His Son. We see this through His –

1. Word. Hebrews 1:2a The authority of the Word is proved through the Son.

Hebrews 1:2-3 “…Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…”

And the Father is revealed through Jesus, which we learn through His –

2. Person. Hebrews 1:2b-3

“….whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”

Notice first that –

a. Jesus is appointed heir of all things.

John 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

By our understanding about being an heir, we expect to receive an inheritance from someone – usually our parents, but not necessarily only through immediate family. The Scripture speaks of this according to our understanding in –

Hebrews 9:16-17 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

You may have ownership of some kind of wealth, no matter of what value the world puts on it.

You are in control of that wealth and you have the right and responsibility to pass this control to someone who will appreciate and care for it as you have done – usually your children. They are your heirs and at some point in time they will inherit that which you have set aside for them.
God the Father has revealed to us that Jesus, His Son, is His heir, with rights to all that He is and has. Is there a difference between our being heirs of our parents and Jesus being the Heir of His Father? Yes, there are differences and we will just mention two this morning.

1). Guarantee.

a). Parents may change their minds as to the administration of their wealth.
b). God will never change His mind as to the administration of His will.

2). Power.

a). Parents may not give power to their children to control their wealth.
b). God has given His Son power to control all things.

The important issue that Paul is setting forth here to the Hebrews and to us is that Jesus has been given full authority over all things. For example, Jesus commanded “if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone”. We may complain and think “Why should I be the one to go speak to them. They should come to me”! We cannot go to the Father and question the authority of the Son. He has full authority being the Heir! We must simply obey – all of His will!

The following statement is a natural transition from having the authority to having the power to accomplish His purpose. He not only has authority to command but also the power to equip us to carry out this command –

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations….

As the All Powerful God, we see that –

b. Jesus is the Creator.

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

He is the Creator of all things. What ministry is going to be too hard for Him to carry out through those that serve Him? As Jeremiah said –

Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

Not only is Jesus the Heir and the Creator –

c. Jesus is the manifestation of His Person. When you have seen the Son, you have seen the
Father. Paul reminds us of His –

1). Everlasting existence. “Who being…” The word ‘oan’ means ‘I Am’ – ‘I exist’. Jesus is declared to be God!

And of His –

2). “Express image…” exact revelation of the Father.

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Refer also to –

John 14:8-9 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

Knowing all of these things, that He is the Heir, the Creator, and the very image of the Father, will we submit and obey Him in all things?

This morning we will learn of three more truths about the Lord from Paul –
Jesus is the Sustainer of all things, the Conqueror of sin and death, and He is now seated on His throne at the right hand of the Father.

We first see that –

d. Jesus is the Sustainer of all things. “…upholding all things by the word of his power.”

This means everything He created is being held together by Him!

Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Psalm 33:9 For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

1). He has power over His creation –

2 Chronicles 7:13-14 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

2). He has power over His creatures –

Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

3). He has power and will prove Himself – pray according to His will and see if He is working among us!

1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

e. Jesus is the Conqueror of Sin and Death, purging our sins. “…when He had by Himself purged our sins…”

The Lord has purchased us unto Himself –

1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

He bought us with a price –

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

He bought us for a purpose – To bring glory to Him on earth

Titus 2:13-14 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

And to bring glory unto Him in eternity –

Colossians 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

We see that He sustains all things through His power, He saved us and cleansed us, and we learn that –

f. Jesus is seated on His Throne, having satisfied the will of God.

“…sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
What did “maketh intercession for us” mean to them and what does it mean to us? Remember that Jesus is our Saviour. We are saved by Him and safe in Him. We, Christians, know that we do not need anyone to make us sin, do wrong things. Our greatest enemy to living a holy life is ourselves. We must realize though, that we do have an enemy besides ourselves, Satan, who is always trying to influence us to sin. As Satan tempts us to sin here on earth, he is also ready to tell God about our sin in Heaven –

Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

We thank the Lord that while we have an accuser, we also have an Advocate defending us before His Father. We are forgiven because of His righteousness, not ours –

We may be accused “He sinned against you”! and our Advocate, Who is sitting on His Throne at the right hand of the Father, will say “He is mine, safe in Me”!

John 10:28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

We have a promise from God –

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The reply may come at times “but they did not confess their sin”! And the answer will be “He is my child, I will correct him”.

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Praise His Holy Name!

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
Paul prepared the Hebrews to read and know the message of the glory of the Lord through His Son, Jesus the Christ. He is better than all things. Have we learned this truth this morning?

II. Exaltation of Christ 1:4 – 10:18

We have learned that Jesus is –

A. Superior to the prophets. 1:1-3

1. The former words. Refer to –

1 Peter 1:10-12 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Measured by these words, we see –

2. The finished work. 1:3 “…and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

This morning we will learn that Jesus not only superior to the prophets, we see that He is also –

B. Superior to the Angels. 1:4-2:18

1. Superior in Person. 1:4-14

a. Superiority stated. 1:4 “…being made so much better than the angels…”

As we begin we must remember what took place in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago. When Jesus was born we are informed through their worship that these mighty angels knew that Jesus is greater than they are –

Luke 2:11-14 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Angels are exceedingly amazing in presence and power.

Note the words of Daniel as he described his encounter with an angel sent from the Lord –

Daniel 10:9-15 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
And a similar occurrence in written of by Matthew at the tomb of the Lord –

Matthew 28:2-4 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

We will learn more of them this morning. It will help us also to understand what the Hebrews believed about angels that made it necessary for Paul to prove Jesus is greater.

Let’s address something right away as we learn of angels. Much misinformation has been presented throughout the ages about angels. They are not the spirits of people that have died! Whatever you have seen on television – it is not true. When a person dies, their spirits either go to Heaven or to Hell immediately. They do not wander throughout the earth. Now, turning to God’s Word about His creations – Angels.

1). Their Person.

a). Angels are created

Psalm 148:2,5 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts…. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.

b). Angels are spirit beings, Psalm 104:4 “Who maketh His angels spirits…”, yet they are able to appear as men to men when needed –

Remember the angels visiting Lot in as recorded in –

Genesis 19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

Genesis 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night?

c). Angels are eternal beings. They are created but they do not die.
d). Angels have unique duties they perform. We will not look today at the fallen angels, but only those holy angels that remained loyal to God.

We see two categories –

(1). Angels by name.

(a). Michael the Archangel.
(b). Gabriel the messenger.

(2). Angels by group

(a). Cherubims

Ezekiel 1:5-12 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
While the Cherubim are guardians of God’s glory, there are also the –

(b). Seraphim. They praise the holiness of God at His Throne. Isaiah wrote of them –

Isaiah 6:1-2 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

2). Their Power is controlled. The Lord of infinite power has control over the angels. The host of angels that brought forth praise at His birth were held back at His crucifixion.

Matthew 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? (more than 70,000)

We should praise the Lord that He is in control! The Lord has revealed to us that there is a great spiritual battle going on that we do not even see –

Ephesians 6:11-13 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Notice that we are not told to look for trouble, we do not have the power to overcome Satan and his angels. We are told to stand in the power of God – He defends us!

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

3). Their Privilege. To stand in the presence of God and serve Him night and day.

Revelation 7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

A thought about the ministry of angels. We have the inspired testimony of their ministry from the beginning and throughout the Old Testament. The testimony continues from the Word of God to their ministry during the New Testament times. Remember the angel that rescued the apostle Peter from the prison as recorded in Acts chapter twelve. And we must remember that the same inspired Word of God speaks of their ministry in the last days. So, they have ministered in the beginning, the Old Testament days, the early New Testament days, and the end times. Does it seems reasonable that they would not minister in our day? They may be ministering now among us. After all, why else would Paul share with us –

Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Today we have seen the power and majesty of the Angels. The more important truth that we have learned is that as amazing as they are, Jesus is better – as high as the infinite is from the created!

Is Jesus wonderful to you today?

One of these days, if you are saved, you will be at His throne also, worshipping Him forever because He is worthy! What a day that will be!

We are continuing today to learn of our Lord Jesus Christ and His exalted position above all things. Paul continued to present evidence to the readers of this letter that Jesus is better than the prophets and even better than the holy angels of God. He is worthy of our worship, of our love, and our obedience. We should delight in Him as we see His –

b. Superiority proved. 1:5-14 By –

1). Relationship. 1:5

a). Angels – created beings.

Psalm 148:2,5 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts…. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.

By creation, not relation.

b). Jesus – exalted Son.

By relation, not by creation

John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

And we have the testimony of the Triune God, the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son –

Matthew 3:16-17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

The Lord Jesus Christ is declared superior to all things by His relationship – the Everlasting God! We also must take note of His superiority by the fact the He, as God, is worthy of all –

2). Reverence. Hebrews 1:6 “…let all the angels of God worship him”.

a). Worship commanded.

Philippians 2:10-11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Isaiah 45:21-24 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

How this knowledge should bring us to our knees before the Almighty God! When is the last time that you bowed down on your knees before the Lord in prayer? We see that among the angels of God –

b). Worship practiced.

(1). His birth.

Luke 2:13-14 (KJV) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

(2). His ministry.

Matthew 4:10-11 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt
worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Luke 22:42-43 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

(3). His resurrection.

The ascension of the Lord was spoken of by Paul in the letter to the Ephesians –

Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

He was quoting – Psalm 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.

Which prophesied not only of His ascension, but the manner of the escort to the Throne room of God –

Psalm 68:17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.

Luke reported that “… he was parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.”

And Luke wrote in the Acts chapter 1 –

“…while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

When The Lord returns, He will be accompanied by His angels again! –

2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

He is superior to all things in Relationship (The everlasting Son of God), in Reverence (He is worthy of all worship), and in –

3). Righteousness. 1:7-9

Adam, the first man, chose to sin – to disobey God. In that choice, all men are born in sin because we are of Adam’s seed. Jesus is greater than man – even the prophets that were blessed by God through preaching His Word to their generations.
Satan, the mighty angel, chose to sin – to disobey God. Through his rebellion against God, multitudes of angels followed him in this rebellion.

The righteous angels that chose to remain faithful to God made a conscious choice to submit to Him, obeying and serving Him.

Jesus cannot choose to sin. He is greater than all because He is infinitely holy. He cannot sin and therefore, is superior to all!

1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
His Kingdom is defined by –

a). Righteous action. 1:7,8 “…a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.”

The scepter symbolizes the will of the King.

Remember when Queen Esther desired to speak with her husband, King Ahasueras, she feared for her life if he did not give a sign to his guards that she was welcome in his court. That sign was that he would hold out the golden scepter giving his protection and inviting her to come to him. If Ahasuerus held back the scepter, his guards would know that the person coming into the court did not belong there, was an intruder and would be immediately killed.

Our Lord’s court is symbolized by a righteous scepter and all those that have been declared righteous, cleansed by the precious blood of Christ, are welcome there.

b). Righteous nature. 1:8,9 He is holy 1 Peter 1:15,16

His final invitation as given in the book of Revelation reminds of His righteous nature –

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Do you understand His relationship, the Jesus Christ is God?
Do you reverence Him in your life, bowing your knee to Him in worship and prayer?
Do you look up to Him and see Him in all of His righteousness?

Next we will see Him exalted through Redemption and Rule. First –

4). Redemption. Hebrews 1:10-12 What do we learn about Jesus being greater than all things through these verses? What is Paul saying?

Actually Paul was quoting Psalm 102 which would remind the Jews that they had been a people with no identity because of their sin against God. Their land had been taken, the city of David had been destroyed and the Temple of the living God had been broken down. They had been taken away to a strange land and were concerned about who they were and what would become of them. This concern of the people is noted in verses 1 through 11. “…Because of thine indignation and thy wrath; for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.”

Their confidence builds as they think about God’s promise to them and in verses 12 through 22 they rejoiced in the knowledge that He will restore His people Israel. The psalmist asked the Lord to give him life so he would live to see the restoration of the people in verses 23,24.
In the passage of Hebrews before us, Paul quotes verses 25-28. He reminded them that God is faithful and will keep all of His promises to His people.

These Jewish believers would read the Psalm and understand how the psalmist felt. They were also struggling with their identity as Jewish Christians. The Holy Spirit led Paul to write these words to encourage them and remind them that what God has promised, He would fulfill. The readers were like the two disciples who left Jerusalem on the first day of the week after the crucifixion –

In Luke 24:18-24 we find that the resurrected Lord joined them as they departed from Jerusalem.

He questioned them about what they were talking about – …And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

The Lord reproved them for their unbelief and then instructed them in truth –

Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Jesus is the Messiah, greater than the prophets and served by the angels. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is the Creastor “…laying the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands…” We can trust in His promises “ …If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” He is the everlasting God. He is the Redeemer of His people, the Saviour of all that will come to Him in faith.

Romans 5:8-10 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. He is alive forevermore!!

Paul wrote the Lord as our Redeemer and also wrote of His –

5). Rule. Hebrews 1:13,14

a). The Majesty on High. “…sit on my right hand…”
b). The ministers – “…sent forth to minister…”servants of the Lord to accomplish His purpose.

1 Peter 3:22 Who I s gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

He is superior, greater than all!

Isaiah saw Him as the Righteous One, Holy and lifted up –

Isaiah 6:1-3 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

He saw Him as the Redeeming One –

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

John saw Him as the Ruling One. “…I turned seven golden candlesticks: And in the midst of the seven candlesticks on like unto the Son of man…”

He is faithful to His promise! The Lord commanded the church to go into all the world and preach the gospel, then He promised “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
is walking among His churches – His body!

He is faithful, better than all things.

2. Superior in position .

This morning we will look into Hebrews 2:1-3

We are given –

a. Encouragement – because of His person and position to stand strong in the truth.
Hebrews 2:1

Christians are to have –

1). Determination – personal decision “…we ought to give…”
2). Diligence. “…more earnest heed…”
3). Disregard. Be warned and be careful. Life is drifting by with many things going unnoticed. Do not “…let them slip…”

We will be held accountable! We will answer for how we live according to the Word of God. We will not be excused by saying “I did not know”.

– We are commanded to “Study to show ourselves approved…”!

God has revealed Himself to us and opened Himself to us to know Him. We are invited, encouraged, even commanded to study, to search, to research Him through His Word. You will

NEVER be disappointed by what you find out as you learn of Him!

– We are commanded to “…to observe all things which I have commanded you…”

This encouragement is reinforced with warning. We now come to the –

b. Exhortation. Hebrews 2:2-3

He is speaking to –

1). The Religious people 2:2

The Hebrew believers were familiar with the Scriptures, the history of Israel. They knew exactly what Paul was referring to. The history of Israel was one of –

God’s blessings, man’s rebellion,
God’s judgment, man’s repentance,
God’s mercy, God’s blessings, man’s rebellion……

Paul reminded them of the Word of God coming to them in power by the Angels of God –

Exodus 19:16-19 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.

And all the people agreed to hear and obey –

Exodus 19:8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.

And yet we see –

2). The Rebellious people. 2:2a The Israelites rebelled against God in –

a). Transgression – sin
b). Disobedience – refusing to hear.

(Golden calves, breaking Sabbath, even Moses’ anger resulting is disobedience)

The Hebrews were warned that because of the sins of Israel, judgment came.

3). The Reproved people. “…received a just recompense of reward…” 2:2a

Paul turned the Hebrews attention from the Israelites living under the Law which was spoken by angels to –

4). The Redeemed People. Living by grace 2:3 “How shall we escape…”

Judgment is sure! We cannot escape the judgment of God in our lives. Know this, it is most important to realize that judgment is not about our eternal life in Him.
Salvation from sin is not about works that we do, simply about belief or unbelief

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Salvation is settled between you and God –

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
We have been studying on Wednesday nights this very issue and it is clear that there is no condemnation to the believer. When we are saved, we are saved forever! It is about our actions or lack of actions that will be judged!

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

What is being stated here refers to the truth declared in –

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Because of Who He is (His Person) and because of What He does (His Position), we are to obey Him. Because of who we are (Saved and in Christ) and what we are (children of the Most High God) we are to obey Him.

You might say “What can I do”? If you are saved –

Admit to yourself that God has saved you to spend eternity with Him, but even more than that!
He has saved you to do something here and now.
Know that God has a purpose for you.
Change those four words “What can I do”? from negative to positive.

Lord, what do you want me to do?
Everyone can pray!
Everyone can witness! Take a gospel tract and give to someone, then pray.
Everyone can be friendly and helpful.
Everyone can give.
Everyone can serve in some way.
Do not neglect the great salvation that is given by our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
He is greater in His Person.
He is greater in His Position.
Worship Him.
Paul needed to answer the question, if Jesus is superior to the angels, why did He become man? We will continue today to see that the superiority to the angels is established by His Person, by
His Position, through the –

c. Exhibition of proof. Hebrews 2:3b,4 “God also bearing them witness..”
through –

1). Personal testimonies. 2:3c “by them that heard him.”
2). Powerful works. 2:4 “God bearing them witness, both with –

a). Signs Refer to Exodus 4:1-8 to point them to the ‘voice’…

Exodus 4:1-8 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.

The sign pointed to the Word of God!

Amazing what God can do with an old stick if we will just submit to Him! What is that in your hand today? You might say it is not much, and it may not be much in our hands, but give it to God and see what He will do with it. Little is much…

Paul wrote of Signs –

b). Wonders (a thing that is amazing or astonishing)
c). Diverse miracles (powers)

They are to glorify God, Lift up the Lord Jesus Christ!

An article from the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics states the purposes of a miracle are –

(1). to glorify the nature of God

John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

(2). to accredit certain persons as the spokesmen for God. Note the testimony of the disciples to the Jews –

Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

They were aware of the power of God in Jesus among them. They would now see the power of God in the name of Jesus Christ working through them –

Acts 3:12-16 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus;… whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea,
the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

(3). to provide evidence for belief in God

John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

John 20:30-31 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

He wrote of the signs, wonders, diverse miracles and the –

d). Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Designed for unity and edification of the body.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
This work of God among us is to bring glory to God –

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Your life is a testimony of the work of God. Remember Paul’s statement to the church in Corinth –
2 Corinthians 4:3-6 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

The Word of God is preached and the evidence of God’s work through His Word is seen in our lives. Our lives and God’s Word must align or something is wrong in our lives.
Paul needed to answer the question, if Jesus is superior to the angels, why did He become man?

We will continue today to see that the superiority to the angels is established by His Person, by
His Position, through the –

c. Exhibition of proof. Hebrews 2:3b,4 “God also bearing them witness..”

Last week we spoke of signs, wonders, miracles, and the Holy Spirit. I want to make sure that we understand that God is still working among us today, just in a different way. He does not give a man these works today. He has given to man His completed Word which is perfect in every way and is all that we need to verify God’s will. When a man hears the Word of God, the Holy Spirit of God begins to use His Word to convince the man of the truth and brings him to a decisions of accepting or rejecting.

We learned of God’s working in His People as a testimony to Himself Thursday night in the Music Seminar by Dr. Ron White. He brought forth the meaning of –

Psalm 40:1-3 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

Paul testified to this very truth in –

2 Corinthians 4:1-7 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

God is still working miracles today!

Today we continue and will look at the –

d. Explanation of the position of angels and man. Hebrews 2:5-8

1). Angels – The Position of Ministers 5:5

Angels do not occupy the earth as their home. Their home is in Heaven in the presence of God. They come to earth on specific missions, but do not dwell here.

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Note: The dwelling place of Satan and the angels that have rebelled against God and followed him dwell on earth. They have lost their estate in Heaven.

2). Man – The Position of Management. 5:6-8

a). The purpose of God for man was to be prince of the creation –

Genesis 1:27-28 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

b). The Plight of man is that he sinned against God and gave up his position to the Devil.

Hebrews 2:8 “But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

Satan is at this time the prince and the power of this earth. Yet, Satan’s power has been defeated and a day is coming that it will be destroyed.

Remember when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness immediately following the baptism by John –

Matthew 4:8-10 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

This was a real offer as the kingdoms of the earth are under his rule at this time.

The power over the place will be yielded up to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Paul completed his presentation of the superiority of Jesus in His Person and Position over that of the angels by declaring the purpose of God in giving His Son that we might have life. We want to remember today the wonderful name of –

3). Jesus – and His Majesty Refer to –

Philippians 2:6-9 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

We can rejoice in His Majesty displayed in Heaven as revealed in –

Revelation 5:12-13 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Now, does man know that God gave him the responsibility and the power to rule over creation and yet man gave up the privilege and the power to accomplish that purpose. Does he understand what he has done? No, most do not. But, God declared this in His Word –

Psalm 8:1-9 To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

We are but creations, unworthy of God’s love, and yet He loves us and became one of us that He might take our sin upon Himself!

Man cannot rule in his own power! Man cannot manage in his own power!
We do have the will to do so – We do not have the wisdom to do so –
We do not have the wherewithal to do so – We cannot save ourselves!
We must have Jesus! Look to Him!

Today we will see that He is superior to the Angels in His Person, His position, and He is –

3. Superior in participation. Hebrews 2:9-18

Jesus is the answer to the cry of Job.. His dilemma –

Job 9:30-33 If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me. For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.

Remember that Job offered sacrifices every day. He knew himself and his family, how easily they might sin against God, no matter how they tried to live a holy life.

The cleansing of the sacrifice was only temporary. The sins were just pushed down the road, only to come up again and present the need for another sacrifice. Even though temporarily clean, he was still in this wicked world and none of the righteous acts he performed could satisfy the just demand of God. Job declared that man needs more than man can provide. He needs more than angels can provide – he needs a mediator between himself and God that is acceptable to God, and this is only God Himself!

A death sentence has been declared that is in power over all men. We are condemned to death and as a matter of fact, are already dead in sin. What we need is life, and that life only comes by God through the death of His Son Jesus Christ. Death is here, we are facing it now. Remaining as we are, dead in sin, we will remain separated from God forever and at the end of this life we have now, we will be in Hell forever. The only escape is another death – the death that Jesus willingly died for all people. No ordinary man can die for us because all men are also dead in sin. No angel can die for us because they do not have the power to do so. Only one answer is given, that God will die for us. Paul set forth how God would accomplish His purpose in these next few verses.

a. He should be subject to death. Hebrews 2:9

1). Position. “…made a little lower than the angels…”

Remember the –

a). Immortality of angels. Refer to –

Luke 20:36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

b). Mortality of man.

We know that angels cannot die, we also know that, because of sin, man must die! We are instructed by the Word of God and by personal experience of the death of mankind.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
He became man – ‘lower than the angels’, to die. In this we see –

2). Praise. “…crowned with glory and honour…” The only qualified One

Philippians 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

3). Purpose. “… that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man…”

This death was very unusual. We must understand that His death would be voluntary, not natural. Jesus of Nazareth had no sin nature. He did not just not commit sin, He had no sin in Him! Jesus
could not die of natural causes! He knew when He came how He must die.

Refer to – 1 Peter 2 “…Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

We see also that –

b. He identified with man. Hebrews 2:10-13

1). Endured suffering (revealed His nature) 2:10

He was truly the man of sorrows –

Isaiah 53:2-3 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

2). United in fellowship “…he is not ashamed to call them brethren…” 2:11-13

Illustrate with Jesus among men.

His participation in this fellowship among men was prophesied, proving to the world that He was coming in flesh and blood –

Isaiah 8:17-18 And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

c. He destroyed the power of death. Hebrews 2:14,15

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

d. He intercedes for believers. Hebrews 2:16-18 He is our –

1). Kinsman. 2:16 The Son of God and the Son of Man our Daysman

He is our –

2). Priest.

Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

God showed His acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus as the Saviour of all men –

Acts 13:29-30 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead:

He is our –

3). Consolation. 2:18

Not only does Jesus understand what we are faced with each day, being tempted Himself throughout His life, “He is able” – not only able to help in power but able in proper understanding of our emotions and experiences. He truly feels what we feel! He is able “to succour” which means not only knowing our situation or hearing our prayer, but running toward us to help. He is not like a cup of water sitting on a sand dune in the desert that we must crawl to in order to satisfy our thirst – He is a river of life that flows to us, where we are in time of need.

The world often speaks of the love of God which they do not understand. The sad thing is that Christians often speak of the love of God which they do not understand either! If we understood the love of God, He would be our all in all! He would be the center of our lives. Is He the center of your life or are you His one day each week?

Do you thank Him for all that you are and all that you have each day?
Do you ask Him for His leadership in the decisions you make each day?
Do you pray for His help in being a witness unto Him each day?
Is God the center of your life? He should be.
Today we turn to the testimony that Jesus is –

C. Superior in Administration. 3:1-4:13 (Moses the Example)

In other words, we need to understand this morning that He is the Owner, Architect, Builder, and Director of His House, Whose house we are! Everything is created by Him and for Him. Everyone is created by Him and subject to Him. Everything answers to Him!

Ephesians 1:18-23 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

There is no doubt that He is King of Kings, that the Father hath given all things into His hands; that He said “All power is given unto me…”; that in Revelation 5:12 we read the testimony “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

We also need to remember that He is the administrator of His church! “I will build my church…”; Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The recipients had been brought up by their families saying “Moses said…”, looking back at the religious system. Paul exhorted them to stay with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is better than Moses. Most of those who followed Moses and experienced the power of God firsthand turned back in unbelief. The problem was that they did not follow God by following His servant, they just followed Moses.

Again, the Law was not given to save people –

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

It would lead people to the Messiah –

Galatians 3:24-26 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Do not turn back to the servant (schoolmaster – works of the Law, religious activities) but stay with the Son! Rejoice and Worship Jesus. He is –

1. Superior in His position. Hebrews 3:1-4

Paul wanted the Jews to compare the position of –

a. The Son of God. Hebrews 3:1,4

‘Consider’ – to contemplate, to understand, to observe. Paul is instructing us to carefully consider the Lord by looking closely, examine carefully, and understand. As we begin to know Him, we will see Him truly as the –

1). Apostle Refer to John 20:21 “As the Father as sent me…”

And we will realize that He is our –

2). High Priest Chosen by God from among men to represent men before Him.

He is the Messiah (Christ), our –
3). Saviour The Promised One, the Redeemer of His people

And He is absolutely –

4). Sovereign Hebrews 3:4 “…He that built all things is God.”

Moses is known as the –

b. The Servant of God. Hebrews 3:2

A servant of God and greatly blessed among the prophets –

Numbers 12:6-7 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.

The Administrator of the Law given to him by God on Mount Sinai. He was a great man, a respected man, and yet only a man. The Hebrews needed to remember this truth.

c. The Status of the Son and the Servant illustrated. Hebrews 3:3,4

Paul used the building of a house, which all of the people would be familiar with, to explain the difference in position between Jesus and Moses. He proved to them that the Architect, Builder, and Owner of the house is greater than those that serve Him in that house.

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Both were faithful in their appointments. Moses is not being put down, Jesus is being exalted in
His proper position – Superior to Moses

2. Superior in His possession. Hebrews 3:5,6

a. Moses – servant “…in all his (God’s) house…” 3:5
b. Jesus – Sovereign 3:6

1). Owner “…over His own house…”
2). Redeemer “…whose house we are…”

Ephesians 2:20-22 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

He is the Owner, Architect, Builder, and Director of His House, Whose house we are! Whose house you are if you are saved. Everything is created by Him and for Him. Everyone is created by Him and subject to Him. Everything answers to Him!

3. Superior in His prosecution of His will. Hebrews 3:7-4:2

Because of the Lord’s ultimate authority, Paul taught the readers of this letter, this includes us, a lesson that we had better learn –

a. From History. Hebrews 3:7-11 (quoted Psalm 95)

Again, consider Jesus. Remember, all of those who came after knew this truth –

1). His position. “…wherefore…” 3:7
2). His provision. “…saw my works forty years…” 3:9b

The result of their sin!

3). Their provocation. 3:8,9a

“Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me…”

But the Jews had hardened their hearts. They had rejected the counsel of the Word of God and they crucified the Lord Jesus!

4). His preparation. 3:11

The Jews knew that God had prepared a place which would be entered into by faith in Him, yet they did not believe and did not enter into “…my rest.”

We are warned to turn –

b. From Self-deception. Hebrews 3:12-15

They, and we, were to –

1). Examine their hearts. 3:12
2). Exhort one another. 3:13-15

And to turn to God –

c. From Unbelief Hebrews 3:16-4:2 Their unbelief –

1). Affected all. 3:16,17

While those 21 years and older died in the wilderness, their sin held the people in that same wilderness for 38 years longer than was needed! It is like a person convicted for a capital crime and imprisoned on death row – with all of their children and young family members kept in prison with them! We must learn a lesson – my sin does not just affect me! My sin brings consequences for all of those around me.

Remember, God does not hold my children responsible for my sin, –

Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

– but they will have to endure the consequences of my sin in this life!

Note that the people did not desire to seek God’s leadership. When things went wrong, they blamed Moses for their problems.

God judged them –

Numbers 14:28-32 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.

Just consider this truth – think on it for a moment – of all of the people that came out of Egypt, how many were 21 years old or older? Out of the hundreds of thousands, only two crossed the Jordan River and entered into the Land of Promise. Does this seem incredible? How many people who claim to be Christians are still in unbelief today? Do you think that the people pointed out Caleb and Joshua saying that they did not understand what they were asking – to trust God over what they have themselves seen or heard from others? They did not go into the land, not because they did not believe Caleb and Joshua, but because they did not believe God. Look back at their words to the people –

Numbers 14:8-9 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

Paul is telling them and us that we had better examine our faith and that faith had better be in God! Also do not fear to ask those around us of their faith! At the border of Canaan, the unbelieving refused to enter into the land of rest that God was giving to them. As we read earlier, they despised it!

Numbers 26:63-64 These are they that were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho. But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai.

Paul pleaded with the readers of this letter not to follow these Jews in their unbelief. They should encourage one another in faith and grow each day – ‘today’, and enter into their final Rest.

In their unbelief, they –

2). Excluded themselves from the land 3:18.19

Their unbelief is an –

3). Example unto those who came after. 4:1,2 – no faith!

The Israelites believed a lie more than they believed God. The report they had received was wrong! It had obvious errors –

Numbers 13:32-33 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
If the land was not good, how is it that the men of the land were “all men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants…”. If the land would destroy the Israelites, why were the people in the land so healthy and huge! The argument made no sense. People are the same today – they believe things that make no sense!

We should follow Paul’s challenge –

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Jesus is the prosecutor, basing all judgment on righteousness. All of mankind will stand before Him as their Judge.

The saved are judged for their faithfulness – the judgement for rewards.

The unsaved will be judged for their faithlessness, their unbelief – the judgment unto eternal separation from God.

4. Superior in His provision. Hebrews 4:3-4:13 He is a rest for His people

a. The Declaration – Believers enter into rest. Hebrews 4:3a

Contrast “any of you seem to come short of it.”
Read Hebrews 4:1-3. The rest that is in God is by faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Paul anticipated the reply from the Hebrews who were still in unbelief were holding on to the works of the Law, trying to mix work and faith. He proceeded to answer them –

b. The Debate –

1). The Protest Hebrews 4:3b-6

These unbelieving Hebrews claimed to possess the rest of God consisting in the Sabbath Rest and the Promised Land Rest. He reminded them that they were like their fathers before them who neither accepted the Sabbath Rest nor the Promised Land Rest. They had rejected the will of God through their unbelief! They did not have faith in the Word of God! They were trusting in the Law and in the Land, neither of which is of any help without faith!

2). The Proof from the Word of God of their unbelief. Hebrews 4:7-9

God revealed through David that the people, even though in the land and David being their king, had still not obtained the promise of God.

The unbelieving simply did not trust God when they were to go into the Promised Land. In the ages to follow, many in the land did not believe God and were still trusting in themselves and their own ways. Paul declared that if the people had trusted God as Jesus (Joshua) led them into the land, they would not have been living in unbelief, as they were. We know that they turned from God and He sent Judges to them for correction and instruction. Even in the time of King David, hundreds of years later, the Lord revealed that the people were still living in unbelief and had not obtained His promise.

Psalm 95:6-9 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work…

Paul reminded his readers that among them were those that were rejecting God, rebelling against His will for them. They were like those in the time of the prophet Jeremiah that demanded that God submit to their will. The Word of God was preached to them and they responded –

Jeremiah 6:16-17 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.

They knew what God was commanding and they simply refused to obey. They would continue to believe and to live according to their own understanding. The Hebrews Paul was writing to people who understood what the Lord expected, they just were going to keep trusting in themselves and their own works. Their fathers had been warned by God that they would be judged by His Word –

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

And now they are reminded that God is Truth and will do what He says. They are a danger to the church just as their fathers were a danger to Jerusalem –

Jeremiah 23:17 They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.

Paul warned them that just as sure as judgment came on Israel in the wilderness, in the time of David, and in the time of Jeremiah, judgement will come upon them if they do not repent and turn to God in faith! He encouraged them with –

3). The Promise from God. 4:9-11

Rest has been provided for the people of God through His work –

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Romans 5:8-9 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

And we should “labour therefore to enter into that rest…”

God is not telling us here that we should work for that rest, but that we should focus our hearts and minds on it – (look unto it diligently, earnestly, longingly).

Colossians 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Remember that Jeremiah warned the people in his day that they would be judged by God based on His searching them out by His Word –

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

Paul also warned the readers of this letter of the same truth. God knows us and will judge us accordingly. Paul wrote of –

4). The Probing knife of the Great Physician. 4:12,13 The Word of God!

The Word of God is not like a huge chopping blade that shreds us into pieces. It is like the surgeon’s scalpel that carefully cuts and divides allowing the Light to shine and reveal everything that is our being! He carefully searches, discovers, reveals, and prescribes correction for us through His Word. He knows what we intend to do even at this very moment!

Psalm 139:1-4 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

The Lord Jesus Christ is superior in His Provision. He has provided a rest, a place with Him for those that trust in Him by grace through faith!

He knows what you are thinking right now. Will you pray and ask Him to help you know what you should do?

Hebrews 4:12-16

a. The Declaration – Believers enter into rest. Hebrews 4:3a
b. The Debate –

1). The Protest Hebrews 4:3b-6
2). The Proof from the Word of God of their unbelief. Hebrews 4:7-9
3). The Promise from God. 4:9-11
4). The Probing knife of the Great Physician. 4:12,13 The Word of God!

As we mentioned last week, the Word of God is like the surgeon’s scalpel that carefully cuts and divides allowing the Light to shine and reveal everything that is our being! He carefully searches, discovers, reveals, and prescribes correction for us through His Word. He knows what we believe, think, and even intend to do at this very moment!

Notice again the power of the Word in our lives –

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The Word of God, the Bible, is a miracle of itself. Many people say that they would believe God if they saw a miracle. This Bible is a miracle! The Lord Jesus Christ spoke of His Word –

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Consider these facts –

a). What the Bible is.

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, was written over 3,450 years ago.
The last book of the Bible, Revelation, was written 1,922 years ago.
The Bible was written over a period of 1,544 years.
The Bible is a collection of books divided into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Bible was written by about 40 different writers. These writers came from every kind of background – from Moses who was raised by the King of Egypt to Amos who was a farmer. Peter was a fisherman and Paul was a highly educated religious leader among the Jews. The Bible has one Author – God!

2 Peter 1:19-21 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

From the first word to the final word, there are no contradictions.

b). What the Bible does.

The Bible reveals who God is.
The Bible reveals who we are.
The Bible reveals what we need – salvation in the Lord.
The Bible answers the questions we ask.
The Bible guides us in decisions of life.

Listen and consider the words from Psalm 119 –

Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Psalm 119:104-105 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Teaches us right living!

Psalm 119:16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

Psalm 119:24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellers.

Teaches us right thinking that we might not be worried and burdened down by decisions of life.

Psalm 119:41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.
Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

Teaches us that we are safe in God, our salvation is of Him.

Psalm 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

Teaches us to be free from guilt and burdens of life. We do not fear tripping and falling! (No hacking, chopping our way through. No branches swinging back and hitting us. A path to follow God freely)

Psalm 119:89-90 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
Teaches us that what we have learned will not change – ever!

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

We learn from God what His Word will do in our lives –

c. The Decision. Hebrews 4:14-16

Based on the truths presented from God through His Word – “…Seeing then…”

1). The Patience of the believers encouraged. 4:14

“…Let us hold fast our profession.”

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

We can have confidence and courage in our trust in the Lord because of –

2). The Position of our Saviour – “Great High Priest”

We know His position and we know His place! “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the Heavens…”

What did this mean to the readers of this letter and what should it mean to us, that He is our High
Priest? We need to look back to the purpose of the High Priest to discover the important truth presented here.

The men of the tribe of Levi were chosen to be the priests and serve the Lord by serving the people. From this family, Levi, He chose the family of Aaron to be the High Priest. These men were unique among all men. Only one man in each generation would be the High Priest and he was the only man allowed by God to come into His presence. Once each year the High Priest would enter into the Holy of Holies, the place where the Ark of the Covenant was placed, and there he met with God. He would offer the sacrifice of Atonement for sin, seeking God’s forgiveness for the people. Paul wrote more about this sacrifice later in this letter. This morning we want to simply see why the believers would be encouraged by knowing that Jesus is our High Priest.

God gave the pattern of the clothing that the High Priest was to wear when he offered the sacrifice of atonement. Notice two articles of the High Priest clothing described in Exodus 28 and three things they represented –

a). The strength of the Lord.

Exodus 28:9,12 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: …. And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.

b). The Love of the Lord

Exodus 28:29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.

c). The Mercy of the Lord.

Exodus 28:30 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.

Jesus spoke of His strength given to us –

Matthew 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
As our High Priest, He bears us on His shoulders.

Of His love given to us –

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
As our High Priest, He bears us on His heart.

And of His holiness and sanctification –
John 17:17-19 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

As our High Priest, He leads us according to His righteous judgment.
Jesus, our High Priest, is in the presence of God the Father at this moment representing us in His strength, His love, and His holiness. We can only stand in the presence of God because of Him!

3). The Praise due to God for His mercy and grace. 4:15,16

a). The Lord identifies with us. 4:15

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

(1). In His life on earth. Physical and emotional sameness.

Tempted to do wrong: Matthew 4:2,3 …he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him…

Compassion as He felt the grief at Lazurus’ funeral: John 11:35 Jesus wept.

Tired and in need of rest: John 4:6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well…

Pressure from family: John 7:5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.

Accused of taking gratuitous favours: John 12:5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

Betrayed by friends: Luke 22:48 …But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

Of course, Jesus was much more than a man, infinitely more – He is God. He knew what was going to happen. He knew what men were thinking. Do you think that this would make things more difficult? Have you ever thought “I wish I could read people’s minds and know what they are thinking and what they are going to do.” We think it would be fun, but would it really? To know what is going on in the depths of a dark and depraved heart would be horrible. And to know the true thoughts of even those that have renewed hearts would destroy us. Only God in His infinite love, mercy, and grace would care for our souls!
We need to know that Jesus understands the troubles and trials that we are going through and He has compassion, knowing what we need each time.

(2). In His death.

He knows what it is to face death. He has gone before and reveals to us that the love of God will conquer our fear –

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

What is troubling you now? Jesus understands!

b). The Lord invites us to come to Him any time. 4:16

“…come boldly….in a time of need.”

Look at these words –

Throne: Majesty, Power, Authority – all being unlimited through the Person of God.

Grace: The favour of God based on the finished work of Jesus Christ toward the undeserving man

Mercy: The willingness of God to forgive the repentant heart.

Mercy gives grace the space in which to operate. “…longsuffering, not willing that any should perish.”

Mercy is holding the door against justice, giving grace time to operate.

Help: God gives that which we need!

Psalm 46:1-2 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Today we will be challenged by His Position as we see His High Priesthood –

2). Compared. 5:1-10

The High Priest –

a). Under Law. 5:1-4

We are reminded that the High Priest according to the will of God was appointed by God, chosen from the Tribe of Levi, and specifically from the family of Aaron of the family of Levi. The appointment, setting apart, of this man was for the purpose of approaching God with gifts and sacrifices as man’s representative before God. Note again the High Priest was a man from among men. Therefore he understood man and had compassion on them. It is interesting that his representation is noted where the sins were for the ignorant and wayward. NOTE: there was no sacrifice designated for the sin committed on purpose, man understanding the act of sin and committing it anyway. A man can only throw himself before God seeking mercy in His judgment.

Numbers 15:30-31 But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.
When we, believers, sin against God on purpose, consequences for that rebellion against Him will result. We should repent of that sin, turning from it and to God, but we will be punished according to His decision of what is appropriate. We will not lose our salvation! Paul teaches this clearly in chapter six.

The believer’s High Priest –

b). Under Grace. 5:5-10

The appointment of Jesus as High Priest is based on the authority (…Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest…), and purpose of God (…Thou art a priest…). One question that would be naturally raised by the Hebrews was that Jesus of Nazareth was not of the tribe of Levi, but of the tribe of Judah, from which no High Priest were chosen. How could He then be the High Priest? Paul answered the question by informing us that Jesus was not set apart as of the Aaronic Priesthood, but of that which was long before Levi and Aaron – that of Melchisedec (…after the order of Melchisedec…) – The Priest of Salem to whom Abraham submitted and paid tithes –

Genesis 14:18-20 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Melchisedec held the positions of King and Salem and Priest of God. Jesus’ priesthood did not follow lineage, but type. Melchisedsec was a type of the Promised Messiah. The Holy Spirit had declared these two things through the Psalmist in –

Psalm 2:6-7 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

And in –

Psalm 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

We need to remember these two statements of the will of God. They will be referred to in the following chapter!

The Hebrews knew these truths but did not understand the application of them. The Lord led Paul to explain this ministry of our Saviour. Paul, knowing the mindset of the people turned now to challenge them and us to seek to know and understand the meaning of God’s Word and its application in our lives.

Paul then exhorted –

b. His People – challenged. 5:11-6:20
Note: 5:11-6:20 contains a challenge from Paul to the recipients of the letter. These verses are a parenthesis containing a challenge. Beginning in 7:1 he continues his train of thought, elaborating on his statement in 5:10. In this challenge, He used a pattern that he would later send to Timothy to help in his ministry. Refer to 2 Timothy 4:2

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

We note the –

1). Rebuke. 5:11-14 Paul confronts –

a). Indifference. 5:11
b). Immaturity. 5:12,13
c). Idleness 5:14 Not exercising their sense of discernment.

The believers were assured of their salvation and were challenged to grow in their knowledge of the Lord. The unbelievers were confronted with the evidence of their unbelief. Assurance of salvation is noted throughout the Word of God.

D. Christ Superior in Mediation. Hebrews 4:14 – 10:18

(Aaron and Melchizadec)

1. Because of His Qualifications. Hebrews 4:14-7:25
Paul explained –

a. His Priesthood – We learned of His High Priesthood –

1). Declared. 4:14-16
2). Compared. 5:1-10 The High Priest –

a). Under Law. 5:1-4
b). Under Grace. 5:5-10 Paul then exhorted –

b. His People – They were challenged – 5:11-6:20

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

We noted the –

1). Rebuke. 5:11-14 Paul confronted their –

a). Indifference. 5:11
b). Immaturity. 5:12,13
c). Idleness 5:14

Not exercising their sense of discernment. Anyone that wants to learn can learn the meaning and application of God’s Word!

He then –

2). Reproved. Hebrews 6:1-8 Some had not believed. Some were believing, but not acting. Paul wrote to charge them to be good testimonies to the unbelieving and to convince them that of their salvation they could be –

a). Sure. 6:1-3 The Foundation is sure. Refer to –

1 Corinthians 3:10,11 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now we are to carry out the commission “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” – we are to –

b). Study. Hebrews 6:1 “…go on to perfection…”

The Word is sufficient.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Standing on the sure foundation and studying the inspired Word of God, we are to be –

c). Steadfast. Hebrews 6:4-8

(1). Explanation. 6:4-6 Secure

Those that claim salvation can be lost deny the power of the Sacrifice of Jesus and the acceptance of that sacrifice by the Father. They deny that His words from the cross “…it is finished…” have meaning for the lost world. They bring shame on Him, not realizing that through their denial of His completed work, if they could lose their salvation, He would have to die for them again because the first sacrifice had not enough power to insure their salvation unto eternity. Paul helps us to understand this through an –

(2). Illustration 6:7,8 Secure
Coming to the realization that the blessings of God come upon all, but not all believe and accept the goodness of God.

(a). Perseverance of the saints 6:7 Blessed results of belief
(b). Punishment of the unsaved. 6:8 Curse is the result of unbelief

Knowing that rebuke and reproof is not enough, he began to correct them with this –

3). Exhortation 6:9-20 Paul counseled them to give –

a). Attendance to their salvation. 6:9-12 Speaks to the –

(1). Evidence of their salvation. 6:9

Even though Paul described a dangerous and forbidding landscape caused by unbelief (…though we thus speak…), he was describing the worst condition while expecting the best. Those still in unbelief should be encouraged by the blessings of God upon the believers and, seeing the goodness of God, turn to Him in repentance and faith!
Share testimony of Grandpa Worley – a farmer that turned his heart to trust God. He had been in the cycle for years that so many farmers find themselves in – owing the bank each year for money needed to buy seed. The profit margin seem never enough. When he was saved he began to learn the whole counsel of God, which includes tithing. He was not sure how this would work as there never seemed to be enough, but he would trust God. When the harvest was finished, he sold his crops, paid his tithe, and had enough profit he no longer needed to borrow from the bank. Year after year the Lord blessed and his testimony for the Lord grew in the community. The other farmers saw the difference in their lives and his, their profits and his. The same dirt plowed, the same seed planted, the same fertilizer spread, the same sweat from the labour, yet he had more. The difference is God!
This is the testimony Paul is sharing – God sends the same rain and blessings on all. What makes the difference? Faith!

(2). Encouragement in their salvation. 6:10

“…For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love…”
God does not forget the loving labour and service given unto Him. The Hebrews knew the Word of God and would respond even as the lawyer replied to Jesus in –

Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

Loving God results in loving others and putting them before self. Jesus explained this kind of love in His parable of the Samaritan putting others before himself in –

Luke 10:29-37 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
In this parable we are introduced to the –

(a). Stranger in trouble – simply known as a “certain man”.
(b). Servants of God. “…a certain priest… “…a Levite…”

These men did not even count this stranger (likely not knowing that he also was travelling even as they were – Jerusalem to Jericho) to have the value of an animal.

Exodus 23:5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.

(c). Samaritan traveler.

An unknown man, under no obligation to the Law, who counted the injured man of more value than himself. He put this man before his schedule, his safety, and his savings (He did not set a financial limit on the innkeeper). There was no talk of compensation, only the act of compassion and care. Jesus instructed the lawyer “…go thou and do likewise.”

“…For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love…”

The priest and the Levite were laboring, but not laboring in love! They were self serving while the Samaritan was serving others.

The Lord keeps a record of your love, compassion, and care for others. He sees and remembers your ministry to others.

The Christians who are seeking to please the Lord are blessed by this truth.
The Christians who are serving themselves should be convicted by this truth.
The unbeliever should be terrified by this truth. God will judge you, not only for your unbelief, but also for all of the things that you have done in this life!

Today we begin by noting the –

(3). Endurance in their salvation. 6:11,12

Paul also exhorted them to consider the –

b). Assurance (of their salvation) 6:13-20 Based on the testimony of –

(1). Familiar example. 6:13-15

(a). The promise given.

Paul referred to the faith of Abraham, reminding the readers of his faith in following God, leaving his home and leading his family to follow the Lord at 75 year of age. (Genesis 12:1,4) They would remember his faith in the birth of Isaac when he was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 (Genesis 21:2,3). They would remember Abraham’s faith in God when at the top of the mountain, he prepared to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son, to the Lord. They knew of his complete faith in God at this trying time

Genesis 22:7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

Genesis 22:13-14 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
Under the most difficult circumstances, Abraham trusted God. Why? Because God is faithful!

(b). The promise realized. 6:15

“…after he patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”

Jesus commended Abraham for his faith, and rebuked the Pharisees for their unbelief! Look at what they had seen, yet they remained in unbelief!

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

How did Abraham see the day of the Lord? He heard the Lord while dwelling in the city of Ur, the city Haran, the land of Canaan that God promised to him and his heritage, the face to face conversation about Lot being in the city of Sodom, the birth of Isaac. Time and time again God was faithful to His promises to Abraham. Abraham had faith that God would do what He promised and seeing these promises extend into the future – he was glad!

The promises of God are sure and just as Abraham believed God, we also should believe Him. Paul reminded them of God’s –

(2). Faithful promise. 6:16-18

(a). God’s confirmation. 6:16-18a Twofold – His promise and His oath.

Paul referred twice in these verses to the immutability of God. The word means ‘unchangeable’. God’s promises are sure. We are assured also by the fact that it is impossible for God to lie. He is truth. It is not that God does not lie, He cannot lie. He is absolutely holy and pure. This two-fold promise refers back to

Hebrews 5:5-6 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

God Himself promised –

His Person –“… the Son of God…” , and His position, “…Thou art a priest for ever…”

In these promises is the –

(b). Believer’s consolation. 6:18b

[1]. Relieved from fear. “…strong consolation…” Because of the –
[2]. Refuge in Him. (Run to Him for safety) and we have –
[3]. Received the promise – “…lay hold upon the hope set before us.”

Everlasting life!

We are to trust God and press forward because of the –

(3). Finished work. 6:19,20

Follow the anchor chain. It does not lead from our spirit and soul across the seas, oceans, and continents, up the road from the coast, just outside the city of Jerusalem to the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. That tomb is empty! We follow our anchor chain past the heavens, and through the veil into the very Throne Room of God where our Anchor sits at His right hand! The promise of our hope is Him. “…sure and steadfast…”

The Anchor is our Saviour, we being forever connected to the Solid Rock, The Foundation Rock, the Corner Stone…

And on the throne beside Him is Jehovah, God our Father –

Jehovah – Jireh He sees and supplies for our needs before we know them.
Jehovah – Nissi He is our Banner. Calling us to gather around Him.
Jehovah – Shalom His is our Peace
Jehovah – Shammah He is there Dwelling among us
Jehovah – Tsidkenu Our Righteousness.

The Connection is God the Spirit. He lives in us, seals us, protects us, teaches us, leads us, comforts us.
Not a possibility, not a probability, but He is sure and steadfast, just as are His promises –

John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

In these chapters, we have been learning of the superiority of Jesus Christ in the Administration of the office of the great High Priest. Paul has written of his office not being of man, nor in the lineage of man, but a special office through a special call of God. In chapter 7:1-19 Paul gave details of the difference in the offices of the Aaronic priesthood and that of Melchisedec. We have already noted these differences and will not go through them again here. What we must see this morning is the description of our wonderful Lord and His ministry unto us. We are given a word picture, a beautiful portrait of our Lord.

Hebrews 7:20-28 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

1). He has a unique order. 7:1-10
2). He has a perfect order. 7:11-19
3). He has an everlasting order. 7:20-25

Note three things about this order: Established, Everlasting, and Effective.

a). Established by God’s oath. 7:20-22
The Lord Jesus Christ’s office as High Priest will never change – ever! “…made a surety of a better testament.” He is the guarantee of our position before God. As High Priest, He represents man to God and also God to man.

b). Everlasting because of His life. 7:23,24

“…He ever liveth to maketh intercession for them.”

Those that have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation have everlasting life!
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 John 2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

These promises are guaranteed by the Lord and are –

c). Effective because of His position. 7:25

Look at the blessed description of the Lord –

(1). Power – God the Son “…able to save…”
(2). Perpetuity – “…ever liveth…”
(3). Position – “…he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Jesus is uniquely qualified to be superior in mediation. He only is worthy!

2. Because of His exaltation. . 7:26 – 8:5

The Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect Mediator – “…for such an high priest became us…” He was suited to the need. His Being, Who He is, fulfills all that is needed for the salvation of man.

a. His character described. 7:26

Consider the description of the Lord in your minds – Think on Him!

1). Holy ‘Pure’
2). Harmless ‘without malice’ not looking for a reason to fight
3). Undefiled ‘untainted’, “real, ethical cleaness”
4). Separate from sinners – both in nature and in proximity.

(Sinless Person – the Son of God; Sinless place –

“Made higher than the heavens.”

b. His crucifixion. 7:27
c. His call. 7:28 ‘Our perfect High Priest – forever’

This morning as we consider His Character, crucifixion, and call as the High Priest and –

We note the overarching purpose of the ages is to glorify God.
We note the satisfaction and of the justice of God through His death.
We note the provision of salvation by grace through faith.

What does this mean to us this morning as we consider His purpose for us, here and now? We must remember His purpose in this age of grace – “I will build my church…”. Paul spoke of the Lord’s expectations of us in his first letter to Timothy –

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

We note His ownership in all of these things this morning: His Character, His Crucifixion, His call and now –

d. His church

Now, we rejoice greatly as the portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ is painted before us in these words of Spirit and of Truth.

But, what happens when we are described in words of truth – the Light is shined on us. We may say that we do not want to be in the light, but the fact of the matter is we are.

Refer to –

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

What about our character, crucifixion, and call?

Character – How would those that know us describe us? Christ like character?

Crucifixion –

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Call – “…a holy priesthood…” to do what” “…To offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
What are spiritual sacrifices and how do we offer them? We must begin as those in Macedonia did –

2 Corinthians 8:4-5 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

Following this is praise, prayer, and service unto the Lord.

Do you want to measure yourself today?
How much time do you spend in praise of the Lord. How thankful are you?
Are you thankful in everything?

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

How much time do you spend in prayer?
How much time do you spend in serving?

Philippians 4:18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

What is my purpose in life? To glorify Him.

We will be reminded by Paul that man did not create God, but God created man. He was before all things created. He is the beginning, the middle, and the end of all things. He is unchanging, “…the same yesterday, today, and forever…”. Most men are desiring for God to do their will, but we must remember that this is God’s plan and we must obey His will. Is this a bad thing? Look at what Paul writes to the Hebrews and to us about God’s will. He reminds us that God wants us to be with Him. He is the One who created us. He is the One who searches for us. He is the One who desires to live among us.

Paul wrote of our Great High Priest and he wrote of the place of service of the High Priest and the order of priest among men.

In chapter 8 Paul summarized the Position of the Lord Jesus – “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum…A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

In these first five verses, he wrote of the preeminence Jesus, with His people worshipping on earth and Jesus ministering in Heaven.

He is the Perfect Priest ministering in the Perfect Tabernacle in Heaven, of which the earthly Tabernacle was but a type, a shadow on earth of the true in Heaven.

Hebrews 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

The time is coming that we will see the Heavenly Sanctuary, not just a representation, with God accomplishing His purpose to live among His people –

Revelation 21:2-3 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Christ is superior –

3. Because of His ministering. Hebrews 8:6-10:18

Paul wrote in 8:6-13 that we have a better High Priest and He is ministering to us a better promise, which Paul called a New Covenant. He told them not to look back to the Law when God is minister that which is better! He has fulfilled the Law in Himself and is accomplishing

His purpose on earth now –

Do not look back when that which is behind simply led us to that which is better!

Paul then told them to have faith in Christ and His ministry which is –

a. Performed through a better service. Hebrews 9:1-22

Remember at the creation, God created the world, the creatures of the world, and a people to populate the world. He placed the first couple, Adam and Eve, in a garden and there He had fellowship with them: God walking with His people. When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost that fellowship with Him. In order to restore fellowship with God, a sacrifice had to be given. Adam and Eve’s sin brought death into the world. The only answer for that sin is death: the innocent for the guilty. This is the first lesson that God taught Adam –

Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

He covered their sin with the skin of an animal. The animal was innocent and was killed, shedding its blood to cover their nakedness. Only by the shedding of blood in death would sin be covered and man able to be near unto God. From that time until the time of the Lord Jesus, the offerings were made by the people of God according to His instructions. The individuals would give offerings for their sins and once a year, the High Priest gave an offering for the sin of the people. As these sacrifices were made, the people were reminded of their sin and of God’s holiness. God’s righteousness, holiness, and love were shown through the offerings and His desire to be among His people.

He wrote how God gave them a wonderful picture of His home in Heaven. The plan of the temple on earth is a shadow of that perfect place in Heaven. Think of that, the Light of God shining onto the earth and we can see the design of the Heavenly Tabernacle on here on earth. Each part of the Tabernacle had a purpose in describing sacrifice and the fellowship of man and God.

1). The Sanctuary. 9:2-5

Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

a). The Holy Place – fellowship (Note the furnishings)

We learn from the furnishings in the Tabernacle –

(1). Lampstand, table – service
(2). Shewbread – “The bread laid before Him” – fellowship
(3). Incense – service and fellowship with prayer

b). The Holy of Holies – forgiveness. (Note the significance of the mementos God commanded to be kept in this place)

(1). Golden censer – obedience (Dangerous to invade into the presence of God)
(2). Ark of the Testimony – Relationship (Tables of Law, Manna, Aaron’s Rod)
(3). Mercy Seat – Propitiation. God is satisfied with the offering.

Do you know what this describes? Does this sound familiar to you? Does it remind you of a family home?

The Tabernacle –

You enter through the door because you are a part of the family.
(I am the Door…”

You go by the altar knowing that you can enter the house in peace.

You stop by the Laver and wash your hands and feet, keeping the house clean.

You enter into the front room and feel so welcome and at peace as the light of the candlestick
illuminates the room with the bread on the table and the conversation (prayer) offered through the smoke of the incense.

You see the curtain and you know that behind the curtain is the very presence of God above the mercy seat and you can experience the peace of God, knowing you are protected by His presence.

This is the experience of the Hebrews. Paul instructed them and us that this is an illustration of the glorious truth that we in this day of grace have a better position than they did. For all that God provided Israel through the Tabernacle was told to the people by the priest and what was within the veil was told the priest by the High Priest.

We have so much better than they because all believers are priest and can enter into the presence of God at any time and any place. Does this help us understand the promise given in chapter 4 that we can enter boldly into the presence of God to find help in the time of need?
I hope that you when you read of the tabernacle or the Temple, you will not just pass over it as something from Old Testament history. I hope that you see it as the shadow cast from the Light in Heaven of the true Tabernacle, the House of God. Are you looking forward to living in that house forever?

Today we will see His ministry –

2). Compared. 9:8-14

He taught, by the Tabernacle, that a better service was –

a). Needed. 9:8-10 The Tabernacle on earth was a figure of what was needed, Perfection!

Hebrews 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

b). Provided. 9:11-14 His entrance was – Acceptable and eternal

Hebrews 9:11-14 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

3). Confirmed – by His death 9:15-22

a). Resulted in – 9:15 Redemption. “…eternal inheritance.”

His death was Required. Without death, the promise could not be –

(1). Accepted. 9:16,17 or –
(2). Executed. 9:22 “…and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

b. Accomplished by a better sacrifice. 9:23-10:18

We rejoice in His sacrifice because His death, burial, and resurrection resulted in

1). His presence in Heaven. 9:23,24

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

2). His power over sin. “…to put away sin…” 9:25,26
3). His perfect offering. 9:27,28 Never needs to be (nor can be) repeated.

Hebrews 9:27-28 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

And we note that the plan of God was being executed in accordance to –

4). His prophetic fulfillment. 10:1-18

The readers of this letter are taught that –

a) The Law –

(1). Was of limited value. 10:1-6

Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

And therefore it –

(2). Was set aside. 10:7-10

Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

b) The Lord 10:11-17

(1). Satisfied the will of God.

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

(2). Sealed the New Covenant.

Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

Paul has set forth Jesus of Nazareth, both Lord and Christ, is greater than the Prophets, greater than the Angels, greater than the Law, greater than all.

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Founded on this truth of God, the Lord led Paul to turn to an –

III. Exhortation to believers 10:18—13:17 He began with an –

A. Exhortation to Faithfulness. 10:18-39 Pay careful attention!

1. Severity. A Word of Warning. 10:19-25

Paul reminded them of the blessing of salvation, and also the responsibility and accountability that came with the blessing. He wrote of the –

a. Permission we have to come into the presence of God. 10:19,20

“Having therefore…boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.”

b. Purpose. ‘worship’ 10:21 “…with our high priest…”
c. Preparation – we must know that we are prepared by faith in God through

1). Salvation 10:22a “…let us draw near with a true heart..”
2). Sanctification. 10:22b

d. Perseverance. 10:23 “…holding fast the profession of our faith without wavering…”
e. Practice our faith and provoke others to do the same. 10:24,25

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Why should we exhort one another to be faithful to God? Because we know the

f. Principles of God do not change. 10:26-31

Paul reminded them of the consequences of willful sin. Their punishment would be –

1). Absolute.

Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Their punishment will be –

2). Appropriate.

Hebrews 10:28-29 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Their anticipation will be –

3). Agonizing.

Hebrews 10:30-31 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Some preach that these verses reveal that a saved person can lose his salvation. This is far from the truth. Paul has already set forth clearly that if a saved person could lose that salvation, Jesus’ death was not sufficient, powerful enough to fulfill His promise – “…I give them unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish…”

Do you believe that Moses is saved? Was he or was he not speaking with Jesus and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration?

Remember that even Moses was judged when he sinned willfully against the Lord!
Oh, that Aaron had been with Moses and advised him to listen carefully to the Words of God when the Israelites were complaining and demanding that Moses give them water.

Oh, that someone, maybe even his servant, Joshua, had encouraged him to pray before acting, to remember how God had blessed so many times before when Moses cried unto God for help!

Oh, that Moses had obeyed God and spoke unto the Rock as God had commanded him instead of hitting the rock with his rod! In his anger at the people, he was being vengeful and smote the rock.

Oh, that Moses had understood that God was using the rock as a type of His Son, the Christ, to show that the nation was blessed when it was smitten once, but His Son would only be smitten once! Never twice!

Moses broke down the illustration that God was giving and now Moses, God’s servant who had spoken to God as a friend spoke to a friend, was judged – “it was a fearful thing to fall into the hand of the living God.”

Can you imagine Moses crying out to God for mercy – to please let him finish his work and lead the nation across the Jordan River and into the Land of Promise. God allowed Moses to see the land of Canaan, but not lead the people into it. Moses took the work of God into his own hands. God warns us “Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense…The Lord shall judge His people…”. Not Moses, not us.

This morning we turn to the exhortation to –

2. Service. Hebrews 10:32-39

To help them to be steadfast, Paul told them they should –

a. Remember. 10:32-34 To think back on –

1). Their salvation. 10:32a The difference salvation made – ‘illuminated’

John 1:4-5 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Those close to you did not understand why a change took place in your life.

The difference in Saul’s life – As he approached Damascus, thinking he would be welcomed into the city with open arms of those in power, but then he was led into the city by the hand, and eventually he escaped from the city through a window, sitting in a basket. How the attitude of the world changes when their accountability to God is revealed!

2 Corinthians 11:32,33 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

The right hand of friendship had become the murderous hands of hate!

Paul called on them to remember –

2). Their stand. 10:32b “…ye endured a great fight of afflictions.”

Refer to the testimony remembered by Paul to Festus and King Agrippa in –

Acts 26:20,21 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.

They should also remember –

3). Their suffering. 10:33,34a

a). Their personal testimony. 10:33a “…ye were made a gazingstock..”

Acts 26:22-24 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

This testimony declared by this aging man on the stage in front of an illustrious audience must have been truly theatrical.

“…ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions…”

And –

b). Their partnership in ministry. 10:33b,34a

They suffered loss because of their love of the brethren –

Acts 17:5-9 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.

“…and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods…”

What do your family and friends think of you because of your love of the brethren? The evidence of salvation is that problems are faced and faith –

b. Remains – Confident and consistent. 10:35-39

In these verses, Paul quoted the words of the prophet Habakkuk which he wrote at the time of the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem. The Jews were in great affliction and though they deserved the judgment of God, Habakkuk was asking why a much more ungodly people were being used in the judgment. He did not comprehend what God was doing and he was asking for answers.

Habakkuk 1:1-4 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.

His world was turned upside down! Can you understand how he feels?

God answered Habakkuk, telling him that the Righteousness of God would be revealed and they needed to simply trust Him and live according to His Word.

Habakkuk 2:2-4 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

The Christians in the early church were facing trials and trouble from those around them and they also wondered when they would be delivered from the affliction – when would life get better? As God told Habakkuk to wait on the Lord, Paul told them to wait on the Lord.

In conclusion, Paul challenged them to remain –

1). Confident. 10:35-37

a). Possession. 10:35 Salvation.

“Cast not away therefore your confidence…” God is not going to cast you out, don’t you cast yourself out and quit!

b). Patience. 10:36a Enduring affliction. “ye have need of patience..”
c). Promise. 10:36b, 37 Do the will of God, looking for the sure appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2). Consistent 10:38,39

a). In these verses are two directions –

(1). Backward. Notice the words associated with this direction –

Draw back, no pleasure, perdition.

(2). Forward. Going forward is inferred by the word “shall live”. The words associated with this direction are –

The just, faith, believe, saving of the soul.

b). In these verses there is one conclusion –

We, the illuminated (saved) do not draw back (lose our salvation), but are of them that believe to the saving of the soul (eternally secure in Christ).

He will come in truth and justice and all of our questions will be answered.

B. Explanation of faith. Hebrews 11:1-3

We are seeking to understand faith –
Consider for a moment the mention of faith in the New Testament –

Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

(Faith must result in courage to face danger and death)

Acts 11:24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

(Faith must result in a Godly goodness which points people to God)

Acts 16:5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

(Faith must result in foundational strength, able to support a growing structure)

Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

(Faith must result in noticeable changes in life through God which are reported by others and lead to rejoicing among the brethren)

Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

(Faith must result in growing in righteous character that can only result by faith in God.
Man has no righteousness to bestow upon others and so the natural man cannot live by faith. The just shall live by faith, and a man is only declared just by God through salvation in Him.)

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

(The result of faith is being no longer an enemy of God, but being at peace with Him)
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

(The result of faith is acknowledging that the Word of God is true)

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight:

(The result of faith is that by acknowledging the Word of God to be true, the believer submits to the whole counsel of the Lord and lives accordingly)
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

(The result of faith is salvation)

So, what is faith?

1. A Promise. Hebrews 11:1 “Substance of things hoped for” (Promise, Title deed)

Illustrate: “Do you own a house? Yes, I own a house in America”. Can you prove that you own a house in America? Yes, I have an official document, the Title Deed. Do you stay in your house? No, I stay here at this time, but there is a time coming that I will live in it. I hope, or fully expect, to live in it”.

2. A Presentation. “Evidence of things not seen.”

“My faith is the evidence that I will live in the house that neither of us can see at this time.”

3. A Proof. Hebrews 11:2,3 The evidence presented by “…things that are seen were not made of things which do appear”

God’s Word is true and is proved by the empirical evidence provided in creation.

Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

Please note that while some are excited and encouraged when the sciences agree with the Word of God, it is just an anecdote in the timeline of history that a scientist caught up with a truth Bible believers have known for ages.

C. Examples of faithfulness. Hebrews 11:4-

The outline today is one that has been presented many times – the delight of those that like alliterative outlines –
1. Worship in faith – Able. Hebrews 11:4 “…offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice…God testifying of his gifts…”

Genesis 4:4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

He went to God, worshipping Him, believing and acknowledging the promise given by God! He had the title deed written in the blood of the Lamb of God and offered a lamb which symbolized this truth.

2. Walk in faith – Enoch. Hebrews 11:5

a. How did Enoch walk? “…he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

Genesis 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

b. How did the Lord Jesus walk? Notice the references to time in His life:

1). Purpose in His days. (24 hours each day)

John 2:4 “…Mine hour is not yet come,” John 7:6 “My time is not yet at hand”

Lk 13:33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following

2). Purpose in His devotion.

John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

3). Purpose in His direction.

To live –

John 4:4 And he must needs go through Samaria.

To die –

Matthew 26:2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

c. How are we to walk?

1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
The Lord told the disciples that He would teach them to work the works of God and that they should –

Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
This brings us to the final point, working the works of God –

John 6:28-29 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

3. Work in faith – Noah. Hebrews 11:7

Faith in Worship and faith in our walk leads to faithful service unto the Lord.
Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

a. God gave Noah a timetable –

Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

b. God gave Noah a promise –

Genesis 6:18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

Noah worked on this project for twenty years before his first son, Shem, was born!

c. God gave Noah a message for his generation –

1 Peter 2:5 “…a preacher of righteousness…”

By faith Noah was prompt (redeemed the time), he persevered, and he presented God’s message to the world.

How many mornings before beginning his work, did he look for someone who believed the message to come and work along side of him? Taking one day a week for rest, he worked 37,080 days and no one came except his wife, sons, and their wives. He kept on – faith! The title deed to unseen (yet promised) things! “The Substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”.

This morning we turn to the truth that helped the Hebrew believers and will help us, the Title Deed given by God, executed by Jesus, written in His blood, and notarized by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13 “…ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise…”).

The –

4. Witnesses to faith. Hebrews 11:8-31

a. Committed to follow God. 11:8-16 Did not turn back!

Remember Jesus’ question to his disciples “will ye also turn back”? and the answer “To whom shall we go…”?

We must be careful in our remembrances of the past! Seldom are the memories accurate.

b. Confident in God. 11:17-22 Trusting in the trials.

They were confident in the –

1). Return home according to the promise of God. “In Isaac shall…”

God had been accomplishing the incredible, the unbelievable, all along in Abraham’s life. He was determined to believe God in simple faith! He had learned to trust God through –

a). Exercising faith.
b). Experiencing failures.

(1). He took his family along with him when he left the city of Ur when God had told him to get out from among them.

(2). He took his nephew Lot with him when he left Haran and was not blessed until Lot departed.

(3). He did not wait upon the Lord to give a son through Sarah his wife and had a son,

Ishmael, by Sarah’s handmaid.

He had learned that it is better to obey than to say I wish I had trusted and obeyed God the first time. “…I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”

2). Revelation of God. Promises of the future. “…the elder shall serve the younger…”

a). The blessing to Jacob. Genesis 27:28,29 “God give thee –“

(1). Provision. “the dew of heaven …fatness of the earth…plenty of corn and wine.”
(2). Power. “…people serve the…nations bow down to thee…”

b). The blessing to Esau. Genesis 27:39,40

(1). Resourcefulness. “thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth…”
(2). Rebellion. “…thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.”

3). The Reward given to Joseph. Genesis 48:22 blessings at the end of trials.

“Moreover I have given one portion above thy brethren…” A double blessing.

4). The release of the people from Egypt.

Hebrews 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of
Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

Joseph was confident that God would lead Israel out of Egypt to return to their land. This was a most unlikely expectation at the time.

They had prestige – Joseph was second in power over all of Egypt.
They had place – Pharaoh gave them the land of Goshen, a good land.
They had power –

Exodus 1:7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.

This was what Joseph knew at the time and, practically speaking, any people would be hard pressed to leave such good conditions. Joseph trusted God and knew that He would get His people where He wanted them to be. After all, God had used slavery and prison to lead him to the seat of power. He was confident that God would do whatever was necessary to take them home and Joseph made them promise not to leave him behind!

Genesis 50:24-25 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of hence.

Have confidence in God through faith. He will take care of the circumstances!

c. Courage of God Hebrews 11:23-31

Matthew 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
The mountain of trial and tribulation before was removed by their faith in God.

1). Risked their lives to protect their child. (Moses’ parents) ,

Hebrews 11:23

“…they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.”

2). Rejected the favour of the world and sought the favour of God. (Moses)

Hebrews 11:24-27
“…refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of
Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt:…”

3). Received and obeyed the Word of God to the saving of the people. Hebrews 11:28,29
“…kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood…Passed through the Red Sea as by dry land….”

4). Relied on the power of God to fight their battles. Hebrews 11:30 (Joshua)

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down…”
5). Remained safe in the midst of battle according to the promise of God. (Rahab)
Hebrews 11:31

“…Rahab perished not with them that believed not……”

All by faith!! “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

The Title Deed to truth and trust in God. Do you received this promise? Are you saved, holding the promise of life in God through the Lord Jesus Christ?

And today we look at the –

5. Worth of Faith. Hebrews 11:32-40 Nothing in this world of matching value!

The strength of faith is evident in the lives of believers. The recipients of this letter had already faced persecution for their testimony for the Lord. Paul encouraged them in their faith. Trouble will continue but the Lord is faithful to bring us through to victory over trials and troubles.

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Faith prepares us for both life and death, blessings and tribulation.

a. Powerful faith. Read Romans 11:32-34

1). Failings – they were imperfect men called by God.

As we walk down this hall of faith we notice that each portrait is of a man who is known for his faults as well as his faith, some more than others, but all had failures that we can identify with. It may seem a strange way to begin the study of powerful faith, but we should realize that they stood alone before God and answered for their sin as well as were rewarded for their successes.
We will stand before God facing the consequences of our actions –

2 Corinthians 5:10-11 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
These saints did not escape the consequences of their sins. We should learn from them and seek to be strong in the Word of the Lord and in faith. Do we, this morning, see our reflection in them?

a). Gideon failed to understand that God had set His name among the people at the

Tabernacle and His priest in the lineage of Levi. The Tabernacle along with the Ark of God had been set up in Shiloh by Joshua and remained until the early years of Samuel. Worship in Shiloh seemed to decline as we find no mention of Israel seeking God’s leadership at the Tabernacle.
We know there were some faithful as we have the record of Samuel’s parents worshipping in Shiloh each year and some others of the Nation of Israel continued to offer there until the actions of the ungodly priest turned them away. Because of the decline of integrity among the priest and the inter-tribal conflicts, Gideon seems to have decided to worship God at home instead of at the Tabernacle. He asked the people to help him to create an ephod, the garment to be worn by the priest. Does this sound familiar? People are constantly inventing alternatives to the church, failing to recognize that God has spoken “I will build my church…”.

b). Barak failed to accept the responsibility to lead when the country needed him, insisting that Deborah accompany him to the place of the battle. She told him that he was given up the victory over Sisera to a woman – a housewife, Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, from the lineage of Abraham and Ketura. Jael showed how much one woman could accomplish with just a hammer and a nail! Judges 4

c). Samson was motivated by lust, surrendering to the passions of the flesh and his contempt for others. Samson flirted with the world, moving almost effortlessly between his dedication as a Nazarite, separated unto the Lord, and his desire to fulfill the lust of his flesh.

d). Jephthah made his foolish vow to God trying to improve on his position with the Lord when God had already promised him the victory over the enemy by empowering him by God’s Spirit. Yet he vowed to sacrifice ‘whatsoever’ came out to meet him upon his return from the battle. Judges 11:29-31

e). David committed adultery with Bathsheba, murdered her husband, refused to accept responsibility to correct his own children, and determined to take a census of the people against the express commands of God.

f). Samuel grew weary of the work God gave him and placed his sons in positions they were not qualified for setting Israel up to demand a king of their own choosing, not waiting on the Lord.

These are men whose failures identified their humanity, whose repentance identified their humility, and whose faith identified God working in their lives – redeeming them, rebuking them, reproving them, and restoring them. David revealed the bitterness brought forth by the chastening hand of God when he cried –

Psalm 51:1-3 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Psalm 51:9-13 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

We must remember the words of God through Paul to the church in Rome –

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
God uses imperfect men, but do not settle for imperfection, saying “this is just who I am”.

We should say I want the Lord to warn me of sin, to guide me in righteousness, and to protect me from the mistake these saints have made! Have faith that overcomes failures!

2). Faith – they relied upon God to achieve His purpose.

God used these men to accomplish His purposes in establishing His nation and God will use us to establish His church!

Are you willing to be a part of accomplishing His will?

Are you saved? You may say today, “I need to clean up my life first”. If you could clean up your
life and satisfy the righteousness of God in doing so, Jesus would not have died for us!

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Today we should begin by remembering the words of God through Peter –

2 Peter 3:17-18 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

God uses imperfect men, but do not settle for imperfection, saying “this is just who I am”.
We should say I want the Lord to warn me of sin, to guide me in righteousness, and to protect me from making the wrong decisions these saints made! I want to have faith that guides me away from and overcomes failures and leads me on to the glory of God. We should look at the results of their –

2). Faith – they relied upon God to achieve His purpose. Hebrews 11:33,34

The Lord led Paul to name these men and put them in the forefront of millions of men and women standing as far as we can see in Heaven and, now across the world. He set forth examples so that we can understand how these faithful saints of God have been witnesses for Him. We see in our minds David ‘subduing kingdoms’, Samuel ‘demanding righteousness’, ‘the mouths of lions’ stopped as they move around Daniel, the three Hebrews – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as ‘the violence of the fire was quenched around them’ and unnamed multitudes who “Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”

Paul explained through this statement that all of us can have a part in the wonderful hall of faith if we give ourselves over to God. God used these men to accomplish His purposes in establishing His nation and God will use us to establish His church!

Are you willing to be a part of accomplishing His will?

We are also challenged to have –

b. Persistent faith. Romans 11:35-38

1). Extraordinary faith. 11:35a To believe that God will do the impossible!

“Women received their dead raised to life again…”

Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17), Elisha and Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:34), Jesus and the Widow of Nain (Luke 7:15), Jesus and the widow of Nazareth (John 20:19; Acts 1:14 “…and the mother of Jesus…”)

The Hebrews who received this letter knew the historical accounts of these Paul referred to. They had personal knowledge and were familiar with books such as First and Second Maccabees recorded the history of the Jews as they battled for freedom in the centuries before the Lord was born. The Second book of Maccabees records the strength of a mother whose six sons were tortured before her by the order of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian King. They were commanded to defile themselves by eating pork and deny God, but they refused – choosing to die horrible deaths. At the last the mother was tortured and killed.

Paul appealed to the Jews understanding that faith often faces trials, even unto death, at times torturous deaths, and encouraged them to remain strong in the Lord.

Which also is –
2). Enduring faith. 11:35b-38 To believe that God’s grace is sufficient for the need. Hold on to the “…substance of things hope for…”

To some victory was in life, for others it was in death. Their faith was the evidence of their victory.

1 Corinthians 15:51-58 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
It was a mystery, unknown to them, but their faith was the “…evidence of things not seen.”

Not only a Powerful faith, a Persistent faith, but also a –

c. Patient faith. Romans 11:39,40

The Old Testament saints waited upon the Lord, not losing faith because of persecution and death – they trusted in God that they will be with Him in the end of things –

Micah 7:7-9 Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.

God had given them the promises (the Covenants), the Law, The Prophets, but they were not complete until the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, was completed.

These all trusted God, looking for His promise, the Messiah. Those reading this letter have so much more than they did, because we not only know the Saviour, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit! They did not turn back and we should not turn back either! Why? Because God’s grace is sufficient for all things we might face in life!

Will we determine with the Apostle Paul –

Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

B. Exhortation to Faithfulness. 11:1-40 Today knowing the exhortations to fearlessness and faithfulness, we are prepared to receive the –

C. Exhortation to Fortitude. 12:1-11 courage, strength, perseverance. Because of –

1. Their Fellowship. 12:1-3
(Fortitude to run the race)

a. The Participants. 12:1a …great cloud of witnesses…” These are not spectators (theata), but are those that have finished their course and are a testimony to others, (marturon). They have run the race, finished their course, and are watching how we run. We need to understand that this race is not a marathon, but a relay race. We are part of a team and are responsible to complete our race while including and encouraging others to continue after us – handing off the baton to keep the race going.

We are instructed to prepare ourselves to run the race .

b. The Preparation. 12:1b To put away –

1). Encumbrances. Weights Refer to –

1 Corinthians 9:25-26 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: (His punches are thrown carefully in order to hit the mark)

2 Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

2). Entrapments. 12:1c “…and the sin…” Refer to –

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

2 Timothy 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil, who are taken captive by him at his will”

Do not be deceived, the Devilis close by and is paying attention to you –

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
If we are to run this race well, we must not let Satan send us on a detour, but we must stay close to the Lord –

James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
c. The Pace. 12:1d Practical guide to long distance runners.

1). Stay focused. “…let us run…” To keep on running
2). Maintain good form. “…with patience…”
3). Know the course. “…the race that is set before us…”

d. The Purpose. 12:2,3 We must follow –

1). The pattern. 12:2,3 Refer to –

Isaiah 50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

He ran alone at times, never stopping even when we stopped –

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus sets the pace for each one of us and we should follow Him!

We should seek –

2). The Prize. “The Joy…”

“…and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

John 17:4-5 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

John 17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

How, by looking unto Jesus – to finish as He finished!

2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

The Exhortation to fortitude because of –

2. Their Future. 12:4 “…not yet resisted unto blood…”
(Fortitude to face the opponent)

We may ask ourselves, do I have the fearlessness, faith, and fortitude to be the witness for the Lord Jesus Christ now, at this time?

What have I done, and – I have not even had to resist unto blood!

3. Their Faith. Hebrews 12:5-11
(Fortitude to accept the correction as faithful children)

They needed to –

a. Remember God’s Word. Hebrews 12:5,6

The recipients of this letter would immediately recognize the Scripture Paul quoted and understand that the Lord does discipline His people. Their knowledge of His Word and His actions in the history of Israel would convince them of the justice of God –

Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Israel had been chastened for their sin and were, as children are when they receive a punishment, hurt, sad and crying. Note the psalmist description of them in captivity –

Psalm 137:1-4 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?

And the love of God in restoring them –

Psalm 126:1-3 When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

The chastening of God is for their good and for His glory. He will not allow those that bear His name bring shame to Him!

We should be convinced that God will correct His children. Knowing this is true Paul wanted them to –

b. Review their relationship. Hebrews 12:7,8
1). The evidence of your relationship is in the interaction between the Father and the child.

The pattern of this interaction is followed in the church through the instruction of Paul to Pastor Timothy –

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

The child of God understands that while the chastening of God is not pleasant at the time, it is a proof of we are the sons of God!

Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

2). The evidence that you are not a child of God is when you can live unto yourself and willingly sin without receiving any correction from God.

Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

If you feel that this is the case, you receive no correction from God for your sins, you need to refer to –

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

The world has no understanding of Scriptural truth and so has no ability to receive instruction in righteousness. Their need is conviction of the need of salvation.

c. Reverence the Lord. Hebrews 12:9-11

Do you realize that there are some children that actually get angry with their parents for correcting them?

They Plead –

Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

They Pout

They Protest – slamming doors, stomping feet, clinching fists.

They Plot – I will just run away
What should they do? They should be Pentitent – repentant and seeking forgiveness from God.
What we should do? Submit to God and obey Him.
Remember the warnings given in Scripture –

David lost his children because he refused to correct and to chasten them.

1 Kings 1:5-6 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom.

You would have thought that David would have heard the stories told by Samuel and Eli the priest and the destruction that came on his family because he refused to correct his sons –

1 Samuel 3:12-13 In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

Please do not get this wrong in your minds – we should want the correction from the Lord in our lives because it keeps us from serious consequences which we bring on our selves.

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Do you want the peace of God to rule in your heart?

Listen to Him through His Word.
Learn from Him and obey.
Live out your life to His glory.
Thank Him because He loves us enough to correct us.

We have learned of the exhortations to fearlessness and faithfulness in this race. Now we are prepared to receive the –

D. Exhortation to Fidelity. Hebrews 12:12-13:17

1. The Meaning of Fidelity. Hebrews 12:12-17

The definition of fidelity is as follows:
accuracy, exactness, precision, correctness.

An example of fidelity is found in the church in Antioch –

Acts 11:21-26 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord
(because of God’s Word and God’s work in the lives of the people) .

Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem:
(They heard what others had seen)
and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
(looked for others to join in the work, to be a blessing and be blessed).
And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Who were those people? They were ‘Christ ones’, having an ‘exactness’, a ‘correctness’, in their likeness of Jesus Christ. When people saw them, they saw “Christ in them”.

Paul told them to present Jesus to the world in their lives by being an example through –

a. Courage. Hebrews 12:12

‘Wherefore’, they were to remember the instruction they have received from the Lord – being coached in their running and corrected in their relationship. Paul challenged them to have courage, strengthening –

1). Their grip. “..lift up the hands which hang down…”

Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and
with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

We are to listen to the Lord’s admonition –

Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Keep both hands on the plow,(lift up those hands and use them for the Lord!) your eyes on the Lord, not standing still but moving forward, which he speaks of next –

2). Their gait. “…the feeble knees…”

Paul instructed them to do as he was doing –

Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
As they were strengthened in their courage, they were to be aware of their –
b. Conduct. Hebrews 12:13-17

1). Commitment – to the right way. 12:13

The description of this right way was given by the Lord –
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Remember that Jesus is the strait gate (the Door). This word used here “strait” does not mean the same as the word pronounced the same way “straight”. It is not like a straight line or made up of straight lines. It means that it is a tight fit. Whosoever believes in the Lord can enter in, but only one at a time. We get on the “narrow way”, the path of life, one person at a time. Once on this path, we begin our race as has been described by Paul in 12:1-4.

We are to –

a). Consider your way. “Make straight paths for your feet…”

“…make straight paths…” this means ‘wheel tracks’

Referring to –

Proverbs 4:25-26 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

Knowing what you believe and where you are going! Know right doctrine –

Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Then –

b). Consider others. “…lest that which is lame be turned out of the way…”

In our conduct having a commitment to the right way and also having –

2). Compassion – to help others. 12:13b,14

“…but rather let it be healed.”

How is this to be carried out? We learn that it takes –

3). Conviction – to know and teach the Truth. 12:15-17

“looking diligently…” overseeing, watching out for anything that will trip you up “trouble you”

There are those like Esau who had little respect or value for God and His will.

They look at the Lord and His as church something to –

a). Treat – come to church to receive a reward
b). Trade – when a thing they value appears (pottage)
c). Take – tonic for an ailing life

The five thousand were not seeking food when they came to Jesus in the wilderness. The four friends were not seeking healing for their friend, they were seeking salvation for him (the healing was for the benefit of others that they would know that the Lord did have power to forgive sins).

As a matter for the record, Jesus told many that they should not tell others what He had done for them! He was not using gimmicks to gather a crowd.

Do not get this wrong! God does reward His children, and God does supply their needs, and God does heal spiritually, emotionally, and physically – but what if He did not? Would you leave the Lord if none of these blessings were given? Would we be like Esau, envious and angry with others, seeking what they have in order to consume it upon his own lusts?

Do you consider the church as a place to receive a treat, to trade for a favour, or a tonic for your health, or do you consider the church a –

d). Treasure.

Is the Lord precious to you today?

Is the Lord’s church precious to you today?

Are you a ‘Christ-One”? Does your life have an ‘exactness’, a ‘correctness’ presenting a likeness of Jesus?

Can you say with Peter today –

1 Peter 1:18-23 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

This morning we are moving on from The Meaning of Fidelity to –

2. The Motivation to Fidelity. Hebrews 12:18-29

Today we will look at verses 18 to 24 considering this thought – “What motivates you in your living out your faith for the Lord.”?
Paul reminded them again of that which is better. Why live under the Law when Jesus is better than the Law –

Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

And not only that truth, but why would some want to resurrect the Law when it was fulfilled in the Lord, the only One who could satisfy it completely! the Apostle Peter testified to the leaders of the church in Jerusalem –

Acts 15:10-11 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”

Some, even in our day, justify their position by claiming they are not restoring the whole law
into their system, just parts of it. James warned of this attitude –

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Paul exhorted us to keep pressing forward, running this race in the Lord. We should –

a. Regard our position in Christ as being better. Hebrews 12:18-24

Compare –

1). The Old – God’s power produced fear. 12:18-21 They saw –

a). The material, earthly creation – Mount Sinai.
b). The majestic. God appeared to the people on the mount.
c). The manifestation which instilled fear and trembling –

“…I exceedingly fear and quake…”

2). The New – peace and faith. 12:22-24

“But ye are come to mount Sion…” You are saved, forgiven…

a). The City. 12:22a

“…the city of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem…”

Revelation 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
Not made by the hands of man, but made of God Himself! Note the description –

Revelation 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:10-12 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal…

Revelation 21:18-21 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

Revelation 22:1-3 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding
out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
The City of the Living God!

In this city is –

b). The Congregation. 12:22b,23

(1). Angels. “… innumerable company of angels…”

Not only the Holy Angels, but those men that trusted God by faith –

(2). New Testament saints and the church.

“…which are written in Heaven…”

Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

(3). Old Testament saints. “… spirits of just men made perfect.”
c). God the Father and Christ Jesus, God the Son, Mediator of the New Covenant. 12:24

Our God, Our Lord, Our High Priest – we will see Him face to face!

Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Remember Paul’s testimony of Abel’s faith in –

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Able’s offering testified of his faith to his salvation, but Jesus blood testifies of salvation unto all that will believe. How much better is the blood of Jesus, which still testifies even today –
Jesus Christ gave His life that we might have eternal life.

If you ignore His sacrifice you will remain in your sin. Consider Pontus Pilate.

If you reject His sacrifice you will remain in your sin. Consider the religious leaders. Acts 5 “…bring this man’s blood on our heads…”

If you trust Him in His sacrifice – He was save you from your sin –

1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as
silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

In this city is being fulfilled now the promise of the Lord –

John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

He is better than the Prophets, the Angels, the Law – He is God. Will you trust Him today?

As a believer, the child of God, what is your motivation to run this race with fidelity, presenting an accurate witness to the world of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Today, we will review His Word that we may reinforce the instruction given to believers based on the truth that Jesus is –

Better than all things.

He has given His life, shed His blood that we might have life everlasting.

He is the only way to life in the Father.

No God exists but God – The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.

In simple terms, no life is presented to anyone in any way except by God through Jesus Christ.

Paul is stating here that since God has all authority, we had better listen to Him!

We must –

b. Remember these truths that we have learned –

1). We must not think about turning back to our old life.

Hebrews 10:34-36 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

2). We must remember those that did not turn back, even though they faced great hardships.
Hebrews 11

3). We must run the race. Hebrews 12:1,2 “Run with patience…”
4). We must keep going, knowing we may suffer, even to giving our lives.

“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”

5). We must be strong, having a firm grip and a strong gait, helping others.

“lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees…”

6). We must not put any confidence in the dead Law.

Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was
contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

7). We must thank God for His grace and His blessings – the city of God.

“…ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…”
8). We must rejoice in our great God the Father and His Son, Jesus.

“…and to God the Judge of all …And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling…”

Knowing this, we must –

c. Respect His Word. Hebrews 12:25-27

1). Experience based on His performance. 12:25,26a

Hebrews 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him
that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:

We should always remember that consequences will follow disobedience.

Paul reminded the Hebrews how their forefathers sinned against God by forgetting His Word so quickly.

a). They feared to listen to God as He spoke. Exodus 20:19
b). They failed to take His Word seriously. Exodus 20:23

‘Ye shall not make me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold”

c). They forsook the Words of God and rebelled against Him.

Exodus 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Exodus 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

They needed, as we do, to believe God, trust Him and refuse to turn back and stop serving Him.

We need to clarify again that the Lord is not speaking of His children losing their salvation. He is speaking of them being corrected while they live, and if they would not accept the correction, (1

John 5:16 “…there is a sin unto death…” ), He would simply kill them and take them to be with Him. Do not be afraid of losing your salvation – be afraid of wasting it!

You see, our problem is fear of giving our all to the Lord. To completely invest ourselves with Him in His will. We are afraid to “get on board” and go “all out” for the Lord. We want to control our lives and so we give Him a little at a time, making sure we can pull back when we are unsure of what will happen.

I remember when I was a teenager I went a number of times with my brother and his friends to an amusement park called Glen Echo, just outside of Washington, D.C. I enjoyed many of the games – trying to knock down bottles with a softball, throwing wooden rings over prizes, shooting moving targets with a rifle. It was fun to play the games that I was in control of. My brother and his friends loved riding the roller coaster. It was an old wooden trestle coaster. This was long before most of the safety devices we know today. I never went with them on the coaster. It was loud and the wood creaked as the cars roared down the hills and around the curves. I stood and watched as they laughed and screamed, having a great time. One of the biggest thrills was on the longest drop. It began at the very highest point with the cars circling slowing, approaching the drop, and then flying down the incline. Dave and them would stand up and put their arms in the air, screaming at the top of their lungs. As the cars came to a stop at the end, they would jump off, run out to the booth and buy tickets to ride again. They had the greatest time, and I watched, afraid to commit myself to something I could not control. How sad that I missed so much. Now, I did not do anything wrong – except the wrong in robbing myself of opportunities and not being an encourage to others to go all in with their lives.
Most Christians live their lives much like my time spent in the park – enjoying some small things but missing the greatest opportunities of all. If we are to seek the greatest blessings of God in this life, we must see our –

2). Expectation based on His promise. 12:26b,27

God is preparing us to live with Him forever in the place that will never change.
This earth is cursed by sin and needs to be remade, which it will be in the end time, an everlasting perfect home for God among His people.

And because of these truths, we should –

d. Resolve to serve. 12:28,29

God has a plan for us and we should determine that we will serve Him, beginning now!

Ephesians 2:4-10 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
God helps us to choose to do right by reminding us of the consequences of doing wrong.

“For our God is a consuming fire.”

Remember –

Hebrews 10:30-31 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Paul set forth how we are reflect the Person of Jesus Christ to the world, living out our lives for Him with accuracy, preciseness, correctness. Paul gave us some characteristics which we can us to examine ourselves by as he concluded this letter. We have described –

3. The Manifestation of Fidelity. Hebrews 13:1-17

The believer’s fidelity to God is noted by his –

a. Reputation. Hebrews 13:1-6

We should be known for our –

1). Love. 13:1

With the Lord Jesus Christ as our foundation and His character as our guiding principle, the following characteristics should flow naturally from the believer through our relationship to Him (Vine and branches) to others. We should know the great influence love has on all relationships.

The Holy Spirit led the writers of the Scriptures to focus heavily on believers having love for
God and for one another –

Mark 12:30-31 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

Our pattern in life is the Lord Jesus Christ. He told the disciples –
“…follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” On another occasion He said “… I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” He told them “…As the Father has sent me, even so send I you.” Peter told us “…leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:…”. Each of these statements has its own context but each statement instructs us in this one thing – Jesus Christ our Saviour is our example of living out that salvation!

The Lord used the Apostle Paul to command us in this matter “Let brotherly love continue.” We must look to the Lord in order to be obedient to this command.

a). Jesus loves those who rejected Him.

Remember how during His final visit to Jerusalem, His heart was touched as He considered their future –

Luke 19:41-42 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

And a few days later with great compassion he called out –

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

b). Jesus loves those that did not know of Him.

1 John 4:9-10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

c). Jesus loves those that did not believe Him or encourage His ministry.

John 7:5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.

Those closest to Him in His personal life did not believe in Him at first, but following the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection they were serving Him – James being the pastor of the church in Jerusalem and Jude being the writer of the book of Jude. We might feel perfectly justified in telling off those that would come to us later and say, Hey, you were right.
Jesus loves them and is ready to act upon His love when they come to Him and confess “Lord, you are right and I was wrong. I believe that you are God and the Saviour of all who will come to you believing that you gave your life and the cross, that you were buried, and three days afterward, you took your life back and rose up from among the dead. Will you please forgive me and save me?
d). Jesus loves those that love Him.

John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

Conclusion:
Love is a determined action. If we say that we love God, which we should because of His love of
us, and also because of the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit, Who loves Him, our response to that love should be obvious according to His Word – “If ye love me, keep my commandments…”

Therefore, by loving Him, our responsibility is –

To love those that reject Him, and us as His servants. Treat them as you would any condemned person, knowing that the execution of the sentence against them is near. What they have on this earth is the best they will ever experience. Their day of reckoning is coming. Also, pray for their repentance and salvation. The Lord revealed His heart when He stated in Ezekiel –

“As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live…”

To love those that are without knowledge of Him.

“Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

2 Corinthians 10:16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you…

To love those that know Him. Determine to love them. How can we do this. By giving ourselves to help them to know Him better and love Him more. As we have already been exhorted in this letter – “ye that are strong receive the weak” and also –

Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Pray for them
Provide for them when they are in need
Prevent them from sin
Provoke them to good works
Realize that as the children of God, no matter what we were religiously, what we are culturally, where we live geographically, where we stand educationally or economically, we are brothers and sisters in Christ – we are His family and are expected to act as such that we might be called after Him – Christians.
We have His message to take into the world – that they might be saved.
We must work together to accomplish His purpose!
Today, do you realize that God loves you? You personally.
Today, will you trust Him, calling upon Him for salvation.
If you are saved, will you return His love to Him and then through Him to a world that does not know Him?

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Paul set forth how we are represent the Person of Jesus Christ to the world, living out our lives for Him with accuracy, preciseness, correctness. Paul gave us some characteristics which we can use to examine ourselves as he concluded this letter. We have described –

3. The Manifestation of Fidelity. Hebrews 13:1-17

The believer’s fidelity to God is noted by his –

a. Reputation. Hebrews 13:1-6

We should be known for our –

1). Love. 13:1

With the Lord Jesus Christ as our foundation and His character as our guiding principle, the following characteristics should flow naturally from the believer through our relationship to Him (Vine and branches) to others. We should know the great influence love has on all relationships. The Holy Spirit led the writers of the Scriptures to focus heavily on believers having love for God and for one another

a). Jesus loves those who rejected Him.
b). Jesus loves those that did not know of Him.
c). Jesus loves those that did not believe Him or encourage His ministry.
d). Jesus loves those that love Him.

In loving Him and loving others, the instructions that follow will be normal actions in our lives.

The child of God should always be known for –

2). Hospitality. 13:2

Matthew 25:34-40 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
We should look forward to the opportunity to show hospitality to others. We have the blessing to be used to care for strangers and –

“…thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Can you imagine the blessing in knowing that you were given the opportunity to entertain angels. We may only learn in eternity how often we interacted with the messengers of God. Some, like Abraham and Lot, only learned after the initial meeting that they were speaking with angels. Some, like that Apostle Paul were encouraged by angels in times of trouble. Others were not rewarded with the knowledge that they had entertained angels at all. Even so, they were blessed through their care for strangers – human or angels.

The admonition is that we show hospitality to those that we have opportunity to help. Through love, we are to be a blessing by not holding tightly to the material wealth we control.

Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Loving God and loving others, putting that love into action through hospitality brings us to the discussion of –

3). Compassion. 13:3

Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

We are to count ourselves as being one with them. We are to know that while we may not be in their circumstances at this time, we may be soon because we live out the same faith in the Lord as they do!

We are not to act from a position of false humility or arrogant condescension, but from true care, feeling what those in need feel and care for them with genuine compassion. There are those that get involved in compassionate ministries because their actions make them feel good. They are looking for an experience or self-satisfaction. The more they help, the better they feel. Helping begins to become addictive. They forget they are serving God as they serve others and simply begin to serve themselves. It seems that they must do more and more to feed their need of worthiness. The Lord never helped anyone to prove or to increase His worth among man. He is always worthy whether He ministers to anyone or not. Is it possible for us to love others, be hospital to them, have compassion and help in their needs without changing who we are or how we feel about ourselves?

In order to serve God and be a help to others, the believer must keep himself pure. The introduction of purity in marriage may at first seem out of place as we have been instructed thus far in love, hospitality, and compassion. We will note though, how perfect the placement of this subject is as we consider the greatest danger we face individually and as families – the destruction of the family. How often the work of God has suffered through infidelity before or in marriage. All of the love, all of the hospitality, all of the compassion has been forgotten because of the foolish submission to the lust of the flesh. God turns our minds at this time to –

4). Faithfulness. 13:4 “…Marriage is honourable in all…”

The commitment and the consummation of marriage is honourable before the Lord. The Lord has created as perfect union on the earth as can be possible. Satan has attacked the family mercilessly throughout all time because of the special position God holds for this institution. Paul understood the mindset of those he was addressing in this letter and reminded them of the holy position we are to follow in our marriage relationship.

Note how many scandals would be avoided if men would follow God’s plan for marriage. We are to be faithful!

We are further warned of another danger which will destroy our testimony for the Lord – that of covetousness. We are to are to render to the Lord all of our –

5). Confidence. 13:5,6 We trust that He will supply all that we need

Our present world offers one of the greatest distractions – the freedom to choose a career path.

Do you realize that this is a relatively new phenomenon? From ancient times until about two centuries ago men rarely chose their vocation. They usually followed their fathers in their work: farmers, merchants, servants, carpenters (as Jesus followed Joseph in His vocation). Even in their situation with very limited choices in life, The Lord led Paul to challenge believers to be content.
“…The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me….”.

When we trust the Lord, we cannot be coerced to do wrong by those that have power over us. At times the employer will pressure the believer to act against the principles of God in the course of doing business. The believer should refuse to sin against the Lord and must stand for truth even though he may lose his position. He must know that the “Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man can do unto me.”

Will you think about how your love, hospitality, compassion, faithfulness, and confidence in the Lord measure up to the commands we have received this morning? I must ask myself “How do I represent the Lord in my day to day life”? How is your reputation?
Do people see Christ in me?

This morning we move from our reputation to our stand for truth, our –

b. Resoluteness. Hebrews 13:7-14

1). Resolute in their belief. 13:7,8 Through the example of –

(a). Their teachers. 13:7 Pastors and teachers

Paul encourages them not only to keep in mind those faithful saints that he wrote of in chapter 11, but also those serving the Lord among them in their time. We do not need to look to the past for examples of faith – look around today! Look to those who are keeping the faith, not changing the faith! They should remind us of the Lord for He is our example –

(b). Their Lord. 13:8 Truth does not change!

Because they are resolute in their belief, they are –

2). Resolute in their behaviour. 13:9-14

The Law had been fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ. The offerings were done away with, the Holy of Holies on earth had been rendered useless, and Jesus led the way out of the camp, onto the cross, through the grave, and into the presence of the Father and the holy angels, to rule from His throne at the right hand of God the Father.

Those continuing to try and satisfy the justice of God through dead works have no place with Him, but those who through grace go unto Him always find life everlasting – looking forward to that city to come, the Heavenly Jerusalem. We who have the wonderful knowledge of the forgiveness of sin and the acceptance of God through His Son, the Lord, Jesus Christ should lead lives filled with –

c. Rejoicing. Hebrews 13:15,16 With the fruit of your –

1). Lips 13:15 “…giving thanks to His name.”
2). Lives. 13:16 “…but to do good and to communicate forget not…”

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

The result of having an attitude of thankfulness and the practice of doing good brings forth the
most wonderful result – “God is well pleased.”

d. Respect. (For Church leaders) Hebrews 13:17

1). Acknowledge their position through –

a). Obedience – Truth
b). Submission – Trust.

2). Appreciate their position –

Understand that the pastor and those in leadership positions must follow the instructions of the Lord – such as stated by Peter –
1 Peter 5:2-3 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

And that they are accountable to the Lord. They need prayer, which Paul request in this next verse: “Pray for us”.

As we have carefully presented the Word of God and seen His will for our lives, that we are to be Ambassadors for Him and represent Him as witnesses to a world who are ignorant of Him, we need to ask ourselves this simple question –“Do I represent the Lord to my family, community, and world in such a way that please Him”?

As we look back at the history of the Nation of Israel we should note an important announcement to the people by Moses in Deuteronomy chapter 1

Deuteronomy 1:1-6 These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab. (There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea.) And it came to pass in the fortieth year …..saying, The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:

After spending about two years at the mount receiving the Law from God, constructing the Tabernacle, organizing the camp, God told Israel that they had been there long enough – it was time to go into the land which was eleven days journey. Thirty eight years later, they entered the land. Why did it take them so long to receive the promise of God?
Because of their unbelief! What about you today? Have you received all that the Lord has for you?

Can you say that you have done all that you know God wants you to up to this morning?

IV. The Earnest Desire of the Apostle — Hebrews 13:18-23

Paul ended this letter by expressing his personal feelings for them with a personal appeal, a prayer, a plea and a plan. We begin with the –

A. Personal appeal. Hebrews 13:18,19

Paul requested the believers to intercede – to “pray for us”.

1. Their protection. Hebrews 13:18a

He knew that more than anything else, they were in need of prayer. They were constantly facing dangerous situations –

2 Corinthians 11:23-28 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

This was all because of –

2. Their practice. Hebrews 13:18b

The missionary’s honest and forthright testimonies led them into confrontation with unbelievers, both the Jews and the Gentiles.

They did as Jesus instructed “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” The Lord also commanded “ And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” These missionaries followed the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ words and actions were under constant scrutiny by the unbelieving, even to the point of them endeavouring to trap Him through His words –

Luke 20:20-22 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?

And His actions –

Matthew 12:10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.

The unbelieving will not allow the believer to follow the commandments of the Lord in peace. Why? Because the believer confronts the unbeliever with the truth of God, that all are accountable unto Him and will answer for themselves at the day of judgment. As Jesus went from town to town, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, so we must – “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

The believers went everywhere preaching the Word. Paul sought prayers that they might be strong and of courage to keep on living out the truth – “honestly – among an unbelieving people. “Pray for us”! He wrote of –

3. His pressing desire. Hebrews 13:19

Paul requested abundant and sincere prayer that he might visit them in good order. He was familiar with them and desired to spend time with them. We know that Paul was hindered many times from visiting those he wrote because of other commitments, traveling difficulties, or even imprisonment. His expectation was like that which was shared with Philemon in –

Philemon 22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.

Following the personal appeal, Paul interceded for them with a personal –

B. Prayer Hebrews 13:20,21 That they would bring glory to God –

1. By the power of God. Hebrews 13:20a

“…God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus…”

2. Through the promise of God. Hebrews 13:20b

“The blood of the everlasting convenant…”

3. In the people of God. Hebrews 13:21a

“Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight….”

4. To the glory of God. Hebrews 13:21b

“…through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.”

Carrying out the will of God for their lives –

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

After praying for them, his desire was that they consider the truth, the instructions and commands that he had written to them. We look now at his –

C. Plea. Hebrews 13:22

He wanted them to understand that this is God’s Word and they are to submit to Him, even in times they did not understand exactly what He was doing.

How many times had the disciples not understood the Lord, yet He commanded them, and us, to simply follow Him –

We have to speak to people, praying they will be saved?
We are to put away our practices of sacrifices?
We are to put away the worship of idols?
We have to be hospitable to them when they are not like us?
We have to forgive? More than once, seven, seventy times?

We will learn in time. As we pray, read, study, obey, and seek to understand the truth – we will. The writer has penned down what the Author instructed them to say. If you are saved, you have the Author in you and He will teach you and give you understanding as you grow day by day.

We may illustrate with the submission of children to parents. In the beginning, instructions are followed because of “I said so!” As the child grows he begins to understand why the instructions were given and should be obeyed.

Believers need to submit to God and obey His Word –

“…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

NOTE: Teaching involves learning. We must be willing students of the Word.

And finally he wrote to share with them his –

D. Plan. Hebrews 13:23

To visit them with Timothy upon his reunion with Paul.

V. Salutations – 13:24,25

We have learned through the letter to the Hebrews this truth –

Jesus Christ our Lord –

Greater than creation as He is the Creator
Greater than the Prophets
Greater than the Angels
Greater than Moses and the Law
Greater than the sacrifices and offerings
Greater than all.
Will you bow your knee to Him in prayer and praise today?

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Lessons from Ezra

Lessons from Ezra
I. Prepare

A. Prepared himself.

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

Once his mind and heart were prepared by knowing God’s will and willing to do God’s will, he was able to discern what and who he needed to he in accomplishing God’s purpose. He then –

B. Prepared others.

Ezra 8:15-17 And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi. Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, men of understanding. And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God.

We know when we experience the working of God in our lives, we must tell others of the plan, power, provision, and purpose that they might know and glorify Him. The Lord commanded that we be “witnesses unto him…unto the uttermost parts of the earth…”

We, therefore, –

II. Proclaim – the greatness of God!

Ezra 8:22 …we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.

Since we are not frozen in time but move forward following the proclamation of God’s working, an expectation of experiencing this power is manifested in those that have heard the testimony. They expect to see our words turned into action. This is the situation of Ezra at this time. How easy it is for apprehension to infiltrate our faith! Will God do what we believe and have proclaimed to others that He will? Ezra’s humanity identifies with ours and we need to learn from him what our next step should be.

We must –

III. Pray Ezra

Ezra 8:21-22 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.

Once we know that we are prepared, have proclaimed the will of God, have prayed, then we should –

IV. Proceed.

Ezra 8:23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.

Ezra 8:31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.

When God accomplishes His purpose through us, we must recognize that it is of Him, all glory belongs to Him, and so we, like they did, should –

V. Praise.

Ezra 8:35 Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD.

I remember years ago hearing Evangelist Maze Jackson sharing an account from one of his days long revival meetings. He said on Sunday morning, the final day of the meetings, a boy came up to him and said “Mr. Jackson, he came to church today”. Brother Maze asked who it was that came and the boy replied that it was his father. His father was not a saved man and had always refused to go to church. During the meetings, Brother Jackson was challenging the people to step out by faith, trust God, bring people and see them saved. The boy said that he had been asking his father to come and finally he had come and today “he was going to get saved”! Brother Maze told on himself that this boys words struck him hard, as you can’t make someone get saved and now this boy had done what he had been challenged to do – brought his father. He said that he sat there as the services began and prayed and prayed and prayed. Oh dear Lord, what will happen in this boy’s life if his father does not get saved today?
Brother Maze had proclaimed that nothing is impossible for God and now the truth was going to be known. What could he do. He did what Ezra did, He prayed, he desperately prayed! He prayed and he preached. As the invitation was given, the boy’s father came forward and trusted the Lord for salvation. They praised God for His working in all of their lives.

The results of their preparing, proclaiming, praying, proceeding, and praise –

Ezra 8:36 …. they furthered the people, and the house of God.

They ‘lifted up’ or encouraged the work. Those that had been hindering the work now turned to help them accomplish their purpose.

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

God is still in control!

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Preaching Outline for the Letter to the Hebrews Message 36

III. Exhortations to Believers Hebrews 10:18-13:17 Message 36

A. Exhortation to Fearlessness. 10:19-39
B. Exhortation to Faithfulness. 11:1-40
C. Exhortation to Fortitude. 12:1-11

The final section we have been preaching through is the –

D. Exhortation to Fidelity. Hebrews 12:12-13:17

Paul gave us some characteristics which we can use to examine ourselves as he concluded this letter. We have described –

1. The Meaning of Fidelity. Hebrews 12:12-17

We noted the definition of fidelity is accuracy, preciseness, correctness.
An example of fidelity in the believer is found in the church in Antioch –
Acts 11:26 And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

Paul told them to present Jesus to the world in their lives by being an example through –

a. Courage. Hebrews 12:12 Being strengthened, they were to have good –
b. Conduct. Hebrews 12:13-17 This good conduct took –

1). Commitment – to the right way. 12:13
2). Compassion – to help others. 12:13b,14
3). Conviction – to know and teach the Truth. 12:15-17
We concluded this part of the message with this question –

Is the Lord precious to you today?
Is the Lord’s church precious to you today?

We then moved on from The Meaning of Fidelity to –
2. The Motivation to Fidelity. Hebrews 12:18-29

What motivates you in your living out your faith for the Lord? Does God have priority over all things in your life? If you love God with all of your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind, how then is this love revealed to those around us? We must see what God says about –
3. The Manifestation of Fidelity. Hebrews 13:1-17

The believer’s fidelity to God is noted by his –
a. Reputation. Hebrews 13:1-6 We should be known for our –

1). Love. 13:1 The child of God should always be known for –
2). Hospitality. 13:2

Loving God and loving others, putting that love
into action through hospitality brings us to the discussion of –

3). Compassion. 13:3 Caring for others naturally leads to –
4). Faithfulness. 13:4 “…Marriage is honourable in all…”

Living out the will of God in love, hospitality, compassion, and faithfulness demands that we place in Him our –

5). Confidence. 13:5,6 We trust that He will supply all that we need.

This morning we move from our reputation to our stand for truth, our –

b. Resoluteness. Hebrews 13:7-14

1). Resolute in their belief. 13:7,8 Through the example of –

(a). Their teachers. 13:7 Pastors and teachers

Paul encourages them not only to keep in mind those faithful saints that he wrote of in chapter 11, but also those serving the Lord among them in their time. We do not need to look to the past for examples of faith – look around today! Look to those who are keeping the faith, not changing the faith! They should remind us of the Lord for He is our example –

(b). Their Lord. 13:8 Truth does not change!

Because they are resolute in their belief, they are –

2). Resolute in their behaviour. 13:9-14

The Law had been fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ. The offerings were done away with, the Holy of Holies on earth had been rendered useless, and Jesus led the way out of the camp, onto the cross, through the grave, and into the presence of the Father and the holy angels, to rule from His throne at the right hand of God the Father.

Those continuing to try and satisfy the justice of God through dead works have no place with Him, but those who through grace go unto Him always find life everlasting – looking forward to that city to come, the Heavenly Jerusalem. We who have the wonderful knowledge of the forgiveness of sin and the acceptance of God through His Son, the Lord, Jesus Christ should lead lives filled with –

c. Rejoicing. Hebrews 13:15,16 With the fruit of your –

1). Lips 13:15 “…giving thanks to His name.”

2). Lives. 13:16 “…but to do good and to communicate forget not…”

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

The result of having an attitude of thankfulness and the practice of doing good brings forth the most wonderful result – “God is well pleased.”

d. Respect. (For Church leaders) Hebrews 13:17

1). Acknowledge their position through –

a). Obedience – Truth
b). Submission – Trust.

2). Appreciate their position –

Understand that the pastor and those in leadership positions must follow the instructions of the Lord – such as stated by Peter –
1 Peter 5:2-3 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
And that they are accountable to the Lord. They need prayer, which Paul request in this next verse: “Pray for us”.
As we have carefully presented the Word of God and seen His will for our lives, that we are to be Ambassadors for Him and represent Him as witnesses to a world who are ignorant of Him, we need to ask ourselves this simple question –“Do I represent the Lord to my family, community, and world in such a way that please Him”?

As we look back at the history of the Nation of Israel we should note an important announcement to the people by Moses in Deuteronomy chapter 1

Deuteronomy 1:1-6 These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab. (There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea.) And it came to pass in the fortieth year …..saying, The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:

After spending about two years at the mount receiving the Law from God, constructing the Tabernacle, organizing the camp, God told Israel that they had been there long enough – it was time to go into the land which was eleven days journey. Thirty eight years later, they entered the land. Why did it take them so long to receive the promise of God?
Because of their unbelief! What about you today? Have you received all that the Lord has for you?

Can you say that you have done all that you know God wants you to up to this morning?

Can you say –

I am what He will have me to be?
I am where He will have me to be?
I am doing what He will have me to do?
If not, get it right this morning. Do not allow your unbelief to keep you from obeying God!

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The Woman whose despair was turned to delight Mark 5

Text: Mark 5:21-43

We are going to meet this woman that knew her only hope was Jesus, the Lord.

I. The woman’s condition. Mark 5:25,26
A. What help did she have?

1. Her natural resistance to disease could not overcome the hemorrhaging.
2. Her physicians could not help her.
3. Her condition separated her from the people around her and from worship in the Temple. (compassion and sympathy)

Leviticus 15:19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.

B. What hope did she have?

1. She was not healed on her own.
2. When she turned to the physicians, they could not help.
a. She suffered with her disease and with their cures.
b. She used all her money to find a cure, but none was to be found.
1. She continually grew worse. All they could do was to treat the symptoms, but the cause continued and the symptoms grew worse.
This is a portrait of sin. People try to treat the symptoms but they cannot treat the cause. Only God has the cure. Life is full of broken resolutions, promises to change, despair and discouragement.

II. The Lord’s care. Mark 5:27-29

A. He had an open testimony.
1. Others had come to Him for help.
2. He was on His way to help a family even at this time.
3. He was approachable –

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need

B. He encourages others in faith. Mark 5:28

C.He blesses beyond measure. Mark 5:29

1. His power is astounding and is simple, operating at His will.
2. She did not just receive relief from her discomfort, she was healed!

III. The Lord’s question. Mark 5:30-34 He stopped to inquire.

A. Jesus knew the woman had come to Him in faith and now would she confess what she had done? A public profession is very important! Do not be ashamed

Romans 10:10-11 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

B. Jesus was one of the two that knew what touch He was speaking about.

1. There was no doubt that He was being touched the whole way.
2. Here He was touched in faith. A sad fact that so many come in contact, but without faith. Mere people among the crowd, onlookers –

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it

C. Jesus met the woman face to face. Mark 5:32,33
Her fear is awesome. Joy of healing and fear of rebuke. What mixed feeling she must have had.
1. Jesus was on His way to visit a dying girl.
2. The woman’s touch would make Him unclean until evening.
3. She may have been trying to be careful to just touch the hem of His garment and not defile Him. Possibly no one would notice.
4. She did not realize that God wants us to come to Him as we are, in faith, and He will make us whole.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

D. Jesus blessed the woman for her public testimony. Mark 5:34

We should learn these lessons from this woman –

She did not let her position stop her – Jesus was with a ruler of a synagogue. Would he stop to help her? He is no respecter of persons!
She did not let her condition stop her – she would bear the pain to get to Jesus.
She did not let her natural concern and cynicism stop her – she had heard what the Lord would do.
She did not let the crowds stop her – she would get through the press, the crowds thronging Jesus.

How easy it is to stop us from seeking to be with Him. She is a good example for us.

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Judges 13 Do not be weary in well doing

Previously we looked at David, the son of Jesse, the shepherd boy, the musician at the court of King Saul, the victor over the Philistine champion – Goliath. Tonight we will study about another of God’s servants that challenged the Philistines about 40 years before David was born. He judged Israel in the time of the Priest Eli and the beginning of the ministry of Samuel.
The Israelites had been contending with their old enemies, the various tribes of the Canaanites. During the times of the Judges, a major enemy the Israelites faced were the Philistines. The Philistines had been in the land for centuries, Abraham, Isaac, Israel having dealings with them. The main group of Philistines migrated at a later time, coming from the southern region of Greece, through Crete and then into Canaan. They were commonly known as “Sea Peoples”, although some did travel overland and had interactions with the Hittites. The Philistines were determined to conquer and control the land, whether they faced the Canaanites or the Israelites. While Israel fought with them throughout the time of the Judges, the great deliverance began with God’s calling of Samson to judge His people.
Judges 13:1-5 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no rasor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

I. The Fear and the faith of the parents. Judges 13:19-22
II. The Faith and obedience of Samson.
Judges 13:24-25 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Judges 15:20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

III. The Failure of Samson.
After 20 years of judging the people, Samson became weary in well doing. He became one of those written of in Judges – “He did that which was right in his own eyes.” Samson submitted himself to the lie presented to the world in the familiar formula used by Satan from the beginning –
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
A. He went to the wrong place.
Judges 16:1a Then went Samson to Gaza,
Samson had no business in Gaza. He did not challenge the enemy nor did he fight them when the opportunity arose.
B. He went to the wrong person. “The lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh”
Judges 16:1b …and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.
Judges 16:4 And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
He sought out women who had no godly character. The unnamed harlot and the materialistic Delilah both measured their value in gold. They had not Godly virtue and they could be bought by whoever had the highest price, unlike the Godly woman.
Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
C. He went with the wrong principles. “…The pride of life”.
1. In Gaza.
He simply walked away, mocking them with his strength. He did not use his strength for good, but simply for a show.
2. In Sorek.
When questioned without end of the source of his power, Samson was not forthright about his relationship with God as a Nazarite. His pride and ego found pleasure in the sinful and challenging relationship with Delilah. He delighted in the game, not considering that the first priority in his life should be God. His sinful pride led him into captivity. The four steps reveal the strength that pride has over wisdom –
a. He told the unbelievable story of the seven green withes (cords) 16:7
b. He told the more believable story of the new ropes. 16:11
c. He told the near truth having to do with his hair. 16:13
d. He told the truth – His hair was a sign of his position with God as a Nazarite. The hair is cut to signify the end of the dedication as a Nazarite. 16:17
His sinful pride led him to a place that he never expected he would be. He was completely caught by surprise
Judges 16:20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.
Do we know tonight that the Lord is with us? We must stay close and never get weary in well doing!

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