“Your Only Source of Life”
Why should you be willing
To let go of everything you have in this world,
Of everything you might gain –
Any glory/fame and riches/wealth –
Even your own life,
To follow Jesus?
Why should you love Him
More than any of these things,
Even more than those
Dearest to you on earth?
You should because
That is the heart
The Lord gives you
By His grace.
But you should also
For all the reasons
The author to the Hebrews
Gives you in this letter:
Because of how great Jesus is,
And because of the great things
He has done for you.
The author reminds us
That Jesus is the eternal God Himself;
He made you;
He gave you His Gospel
So that you might be saved;
He controls everything
And directs it all for your good;
He became a man
So that He might die,
So that you wouldn’t
Have to be afraid of death.
We saw last week,
He entered heaven
To make a way for you to enter.
It’s so easy to take these things for granted.
Because we hear them so often,
Or because we forget how precious them are,
Or because we lose sight
Of what we really deserve –
What would have happened to us
If He hadn’t done all these things:
We would have suffered forever.
Knowing this is true,
How can you not love Him
More than anything,
More than anyone?
How could you not be willing
To let go of this world that hates Him,
To trust and follow Him,
Wherever He leads you?
The author to the Hebrews
Wants to open your eyes
To make you willing.
To this end,
There’s more he wants to show you:
He wants you to see
The very important office and work
Jesus was given
That you couldn’t have been saved without:
That of being your high priest.
Jesus is your King –
As the author already showed us –
He commands angels to minister to you,
He commands everything in the universe
To conspire together for your good.
He even commands you for your good –
He wants you to do the things
That are good for you.
The author has also shown you
That Jesus is your prophet –
He’s told you things
That you couldn’t have known without Him,
Without which you couldn’t have been saved.
But he wants you to know
That Jesus is also your priest –
He is a perfect priest,
Who made a perfect sacrifice
And who prays perfectly
For your needs,
Because He understands
What you’re going through
And what you need.
This morning, let’s consider three things
The author has to say:
1. Why you need a priest.
2. That the Father has given you the perfect priest.
3. And what Jesus does for you as your priest.
A. First, why do you need a priest?
Don’t ever forget
That your sins have made it impossible
For you to approach God directly.
You can’t do it – He won’t allow it.
Adam, by his sin, cut you off.
And you’ve cut yourself off
Many times over.
God is not like us –
He is holy;
He loves good,
He hates evil.
And because He does,
He can’t allow you
To come into His presence
On your own.
Isaiah writes, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your
God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear”
The only way you can come to Him
Is through a priest.
He must stand between the two of you,
Provide a sacrifice to cover your sins
And pray that God would receive you
On the basis of that sacrifice.
God, in His infinite mercy,
Provided a priest.
He also determined that this priest
Should also be compassionate –
That he should know what you’re going through
Because he went through the same himself.
That’s why God appointed men
Rather than angels –
Angels are intelligent,
They are powerful,
And they are holy,
But as great as they are,
They could never understand
What you have to go through in life
Because they don’t know what it’s like
To be human.
The fact that a priest is a man,
Who goes through what you go through
Is also why he must sacrifice for himself,
As well as for you –
If he doesn’t deal with his own sins,
He won’t be able to approach God
To deal with yours.
If you are to come near to God at all,
If you are to be reconciled to Him,
If you are to be saved,
You need a priest.
B. The good news is
God has given you a perfect priest –
One who can bring you near:
His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (vv. 4-6).
If He hadn’t done this,
You couldn’t come.
No one can become a priest
Simply because they want to:
They have to be called by God.
When God set up
The Ceremonial system through Moses,
He called Aaron and his sons
To be His priests (Ex. 28:1) –
It wasn’t something
They decided to do.
There were actually some
Who decided they would –
Who thought they would make pretty good priests,
And didn’t see any reason
Why they couldn’t:
Their names were Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On (Num. 16).
God didn’t let them –
It wasn’t a pretty picture.
God burned up those
Who stood before His Tent of Meeting,
And caused the ground to open
Under their tents,
So that everything that belonged to them
Went down alive into the grave.
Was God being cruel or unjust? No.
He simply decided not to be merciful
And brought the judgment they deserved
Down on their heads.
God can do that –
He is just
And He has the right
To require justice when He wills.
But He can also be merciful
Which is why He gave you His Son,
To be your priest –
Not like the other priests:
Not in the line of Aaron –
But in the line of Melchizedek.
This is something
The author will develop later.
C. Finally, and most importantly,
What does Jesus do as your priest?
He reconciles you with God
Through sacrifice and prayer.
Jesus has made the only sacrifice
That can wash away your sins –
That could ever wash away sins.
The animal sacrifices
That Aaron and his sons made
Were never actually able to do this.
God did grant forgiveness
When they offered them in faith,
But only because those sacrifices
Looked forward to Jesus.
His sacrifice has always been the only one
That can wash away sins.
It was this sacrifice
That paid for the sins
Jesus carried on the cross.
We saw earlier that the priest
Not only had to sacrifice for the people,
But also for Himself.
Jesus did this as well.
When your sins were laid on Him
He became guilty –
Not of having committed them Himself,
But of your having committed them –
He sacrificed Himself
To pay for them,
And in that sense
He did what the other priests did.
And of course,
That His Father raised Him from the dead,
Was His public statement
That Jesus’ payment was received.
Jesus provided Himself
As the perfect sacrifice for you.
What else does Jesus do as your priest?
He prayed for you while He was on earth –
We saw one example of this in John 17,
We call this His high priestly prayer.
He prayed in the Garden
For the strength to lay down His life for you.
And He continues to pray for you in heaven.
He pleads the infinite merit of His sacrifice for you.
Does the Father hear Him?
Yes, He always hears Him
Because of His piety –
Because He loves Him so much.
Finally, we see
That Jesus learned obedience through His suffering.
He learned how to honor His Father
Through every phase of life
And in every situation.
That’s one of the reasons
Jesus came into this world as a baby,
And didn’t drop down
From heaven as a man:
It was so that
He could go through childhood,
Through His teens,
Through early adulthood,
Into adulthood –
So that He could experience
What you experience.
So He could sympathize
With what you have to go through,
So He could understand you
And give you the kind of help you need.
He knows what it’s like
To live among an ungodly people
In an ungodly world,
To be tempted by it.
He know what it’s like
To suffer at the hands of His enemies –
He was betrayed,
And what He learned
Through His sufferings,
Perfectly prepared Him
To be your high priest.
And, of course,
Being the only priest God has appointed,
He is the only source of eternal life.
How can you receive this life?
That’s the last thing
The author tells you:
To receive what He did,
You must obey Him,
“He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (v. 9).
How many of His commands
Do you have to obey?
Is some of them enough?
Can you pick and choose
What you will do and what not?
You must obey them all.
You first need to obey His command
To repent and believe in Him.
If you haven’t turned from your sins
And trusted Jesus,
You need to start here
If you want eternal life –
If you want to escape
What you deserve in hell
And go to heaven instead.
But if you’ve trusted Him,
You also have to be prepared
To obey Him in everything.
What does He tell you to do?
Jesus says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up
his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but
whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he
gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26).
He also says, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother
and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he
cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after
Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a
tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to
complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish,
all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and
was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in
battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten
thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms
of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his
own possessions. Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless,
with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure
pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Luke 14:26-35).
To receive the life He gives,
You must be willing to give up your life,
You must be willing to let go of your possessions,
Of this world,
Even those closest to you,
And you must follow Him –
You must live only for Him.
As we saw in Pilgrim’s Progress,
You must be willing
To submit your own opinions
About what’s right and wrong,
About how you’re going to live,
To God’s Word alone.
You don’t get to question Him,
Or to sit as judge over what He says.
Are you willing to pay this price?
Jesus says you should sit down and decide
Before you even begin to follow Him.
But don’t forget,
If you are willing,
Jesus will help you.
He won’t leave you to do it on your own.
He’ll make sure
You will make it to the end. Amen.