Letter to the Hebrews Message Seventeen
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!
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;
Is He your Saviour today?